10th ASEAN Leaderspeak: ASEAN's cultural heritage through design and innovation

This is a press release from the Asian Institute of Management.

MAKATI CITY, Philippines – On its last installment for this academic year, the ASEAN Leaderspeak series featured two highly respected industry leaders from the textile and apparel industry. While opportunities await forward-looking businesses, experts spelled out issues and outlined ways to prime up the sector’s readiness in response to the ASEAN Economic Community by end of December 2015.

Ms. Celia Elumba, Director IV of the Department of Science and Technology- Philippine Textile Research Institute (DOST-PTRI), started by recognizing the importance of the industry not only in terms of economic significance but also in terms of socio-cultural value. Previously branded as the sunset industry, the textile and apparel sector is nonetheless regaining momentum in conjunction with the ASEAN integration efforts.

Dir. Elumba shared public sector-led projects and practices that are aligned with regional integration initiatives such as industrial and skills upgrading from the production of fiber to the delivery of export-quality textile and apparel goods. Engineering production technologies and ensuring technical skills required by facilities are met were major projects instituted by DOST-PTRI. These efforts, in partnership with other institutions, intend to make businesses more capable of participating in global supply chains.

The textile and apparel supply chain encompass fibers, fabrics, garments, machinery, design and logistics. As the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) envisions a single production base, businesses enjoy the benefits of economies of scale from product and service complementation across the region.

Ms. Jean Margaret Golbourn, President of Silk Cocoon and Design Exchange, Inc., meanwhile, talked about the potential industry pitfalls from a private-sector point of view. Deep-lying political and governance issues such as corruption and red tape at the borders could prevent participation in supply chains across the region.

Ms. Golbourn also calls for a more aggressive stance in critically identifying, tapping, and sustaining opportunities before they lapse as was the case in the past. As the region, especially the Philippines, boasts of abundance of native natural fibers such as abaca, piña, silk and fiber, Ms. Golbourn hopes to heighten industry competitiveness by transforming roadmaps towards more action-oriented policies.

The event was organized as part of the 10-part ASEAN Leaderspeak Series of the AIM ASEAN 2015 Project in partnership with J. Co Donuts and Coffee Philippines to spread awareness on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Economic Integration by the end of 2015.

The program was moderated by Prof. Gillian Stevens, AIM Core Faculty. It features Prof. Patricia L. Lontoc, AIM Core Faculty and Dr. Ana P. Labrador of the National Museum of the Philippines as panelists.

The Leaderspeak Series is a platform for discussing and exchanging innovative ideas on ASEAN as a whole and has showcased thought leaders such as Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P.A. Sereno, Mr. Ronaldo del Carmen of Pixar, and President Fidel V. Ramos throughout its run. – Rappler.com