PHILIPPINES: Rubber industry bares roadmap to DTI

University of the Philippines Institute for Small-Scale Studies Director Leoncio Cubillas presented the roadmap for the rubber industry.

The forum is the latest installment in the DTI and BOI's TID Updates program and comes after the first one conducted last 13 August, where roadmaps for the manufacturing, chemical and copper industries were presented.

"At that forum, we discussed with stakeholders the objectives and principles governing the road-mapping project. This initiative is about knowing the past and current situation of industries and setting goals for the present and the future,” Cristobal said.

Rubber industry

The rubber industry roadmap "aims to propel its products to become key contributors to the country's economic development.” The industry's target is to upgrade their manufacturing capabilities and technical and market standards, which according to them will boost their links with local and export markets.

"The ability to adjust to customer requirements, the technical capability to satisfy the needs of customers, the expertise and knowledge to manufacture many types of rubber products, and the capacity to meet and cater to market demand are the strengths of the rubber industry,” said Cubellas.

"Its weaknesses, on the other hand, include the need to outsource tool and machine requirements, the difficulty of coming up with an effective marketing plan, and the weak capability to compete with foreign products,” he added.

Aside from those, the industry is also facing a number of threats, like the smuggling of rubber products, especially tires from China. There is also the deficiency in rubber testing facilities, nonavailability of quality raw materials, unstable price of crumb rubber, and lack or even absence of government support.

But despite all these challenges and the industry being "small,” the rubber industry still sees many opportunities that may help it achieve its targets. The most notable is the country's climate, which makes the Philippines an ideal place for planting rubber trees.

Source: Daily "The Manila Times", Manila; 27 Sept 2013(Syed Rashid Ali, Karachi, Pakistan)