The House committee on agriculture and food has approved the creation of a technical working group (TWG) that will finalize the bill seeking to create a Philippine Rubber Industry Development Board (PhilRubber) which shall be responsible mainly for the promotion, development and growth of the rubber industry by improving its quality and productivity, and expanding its markets.
The TWG creation was agreed upon during a recent hearing of the committee chaired by Rep. Jose T. Panganiban, Jr. (Party-list, ANAC IP). The TWG shall be headed by Rep. Isagani S. Amatong (3rd District, Zamboanga del Norte) who is also the author of the proposal embodied in House Bill 2912.
Panganiban said the proposed PhilRubber shall be an attached agency of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and would require an initial funding of P200 million. Panganiban stressed that the proposed PhilRubber should not duplicate the functions of the existing Philippine Rubber Research Institute created under Republic Act 10089 and the Philippine Rubber Industry Development Authority being proposed under House Bill 4064, which is now pending at the committee on government reorganization.
Amatong gave an assurance that the PhilRubber will not duplicate or be in conflict with the functions of other agencies. He said they studied well RA 1008 while in the course of drafting HB 2912.
Director Sitti Amina Jain of the DTI National Rubber Industry Cluster Coordinator (NRICC) explained the difference between RA 10089 and HB 2912.
“RA 10089 is centered on the upstream or concentrated mainly on rubber production while the PhilRubber under HB 2912 will serve as an umbrella organization that would protect and promote the rubber industry as a whole, from production down to manufacturing then to exporting,” said Jain.
Jain further said the PhilRubber would oversee the implementation of programs and projects to ensure the rubber industry would grow not just on the upstream (production) but as well as downstream which consists of rubber processing manufacturing and marketing.
Pursuant to RA 10089, an advisory board was created composed of representatives from the Department of Agriculture (DA), Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), Philippine Rubber Research Institute (PRRI), and a representative each from the sectors of rubber producers and processors. The advisory board is mandated to develop policies and programs aimed at improving the state of technologies needed for the rubber industry to meet global standards for competitiveness and product quality.