THE Philippine Board of Investments (BOI), the country’s lead industry-development arm and primary investments-promotion agency, met recently with Taytay-based garments and textile manufacturers and stakeholders for a roundtable discussion to gather insights on how the agency can assist in scaling up the garments industry in the area and make them more competitive.
Trade Undersecretary for Industry Development and Trade Policy Group and BOI Managing Ceferino S. Rodolfo led the discussion with the officers and members of the Baclaran Garment Producers Inc. (Bagpi) and I Love Taytay Garments Producers Inc. (Igpai)—the two major garments manufacturer groups in Taytay, Rizal. Officials and representatives from the Philippine Chamber of Commerce–Taytay Chapter, the Taytay municipal government, the Department of Trade and Industry(DTI)-Rizal Provincial Office, and the Department of Tourism-Rizal Provincial Office were also present in the meeting.
“Our garments industry used to be one of the top performing sectors both locally and internationally. But with the challenges brought by the end of the Multi-Fiber Agreement [MFA], which grants preferential tariffs to Philippine exports of garments and textiles, we saw a decline in the sector’s general performance,” Rodolfo said. “We, however, observed that while this is the overall state of the sector, the garments industry here in Taytay is thriving despite challenges, and we hope to replicate this successful model to other parts of the country.”
In the roundtable discussion, the garment-manufacturer groups informed BOI of the scarcity of laborers, particularly sewers.
“Dress-making is no longer part of the schools’ curriculum. Thus, we are having difficulties in serving market demand,” Bagpi President Manuel Cruz said.
As most garment manufacturers in Taytay are still small scale and likely family-owned businesses passed on through generations, the group also explained that branding has not been fully explored, as this entails additional costs.
“Most of the garment manufacturers here sell their items in bulk to retailers and online resellers. These retailers and resellers are often the ones putting the brand names to these items,” an Igpai representative said.
Garments manufacturing is one of the silong industries in Taytay with about 190 registered garment manufacturers, 52 remnant-cloth sellers, 29 registered ready-to-wear retailers and 4,000 surveyed flea-market sellers, a report by the Taytay Business License Processing Office said.
The garments and textile industry in Taytay can be traced back from the 1950s to the 1960s when remnant textiles (aged textiles) from New York were imported through the efforts of the then municipal mayor who had easy access to suppliers and knowledge on customs procedure.
Sewers were mostly located on the ground floor of their houses to lessen overhead costs, as well as permits and licensing requirements.
With increasing labor costs in the country, most of the garments manufacturers have moved to other Association of Southeast Asian Nations countries. The local industry continues to struggle in competing with secondhand clothes from developed countries (ukay-ukay) and Chinese-made garments and textiles. Factories in Taytay and in nearby areas like ITM, Gentex, UTEX and Knit Joy ceased operations. Garment manufacturers in Taytay are now relying heavily on imported remnants from China.
Rodolfo said the DTI and the BOI can help in the possible sourcing of textiles from nontraditional sources, such as Vietnam, Pakistan and Turkey, upgrading their capabilities and expanding their markets.
After the meeting, Rodolfo and the BOI team made rounds at the ongoing Taytay Tiangge Night Market to witness the actual operations of industry players in the area. Flocked by thousands of buyers and resellers, about nine associations of garments producers and traders operate in the Taytay tiangge namely Bagpi (400 to 1,000 stalls), municipal tiangge (800 stalls), Octagon (150), Igpai (300 to 400), Maswerte (250), My Seoul (100 to 200), Freedom (200), Club Manila East (600 to 700) and Eugene (30).
“The information gathered from the roundtable discussion is very important to us. As we go around the country and conduct similar focused-group discussions with garments and textile industry players and stakeholders, these collected information will serve as substantive inputs to the Garments and Textile Industry Roadmap that we envision for the industry,” Rodolfo said.
The BOI, through the Manufacturing Resurgence Program—Industry Roadmapping Project, is currently formulating the Garments and Textile Industry Roadmap. The roadmapping exercise involves defining the industry’s objectives, assessing its state and economic performance, identifying the binding constraints to its growth, and recommending strategies to achieve industry growth and competitiveness. The project involves the conduct of focused group discussions with stakeholders from the industry, government, and other relevant sectors and already, five discussions were conducted from December 2017 with various garments and textile stakeholders in some parts of the country. The discussion with Taytay garment stakeholders is sixth among these meetings.