The Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has started a project in response to the need for sustainable and functional textiles that would protect Filipinos against COVID-19.

Called the project, “Community-Level Textile Raw Material Integration Towards Self-sufficient Philippine Textiles Manufacturing of PROTex (Protective Re-engineered Occupational Technical Textiles) against COVID-19”, it aims to collaborate with local weavers and fiber-producing communities from Apayao, Cavite, and Surigao del Sur using the fibers of Backcross Abaca with Native and Desirable Accessions to Lift Up the Abaca Industry (BANDALA) abaca, bamboo, and pineapple leaf for textile production.

The project, according to an issued statement by the DOST PCAARRD, is led by Jenneli E. Caya of the DOST-Philippine Textile Research Institute (DOST-PTRI). It targets to manufacture a water-repellent, antiviral, and re-wearable textile fabric for face masks and protective apparel in response to the new normal.

The final product is also expected to comply with RA 9242 or the Philippine Tropical Fabric Law which requires the use of local tropical fibers for government wear of officials and employees.

The project is part of the DOST-PCAARRD’s Good Agri-Aqua Livelihood Initiatives towards National Goals or the GALING-PCAARRD Kontra COVID-19 Program.

The said program aims to help alleviate the situation in COVID-19 affected communities around the country through technology-information sharing, food product distribution, and provision of food production technologies and livelihood opportunities derived from its various R&D projects.

The DOST-PTRI project was discussed in detail during the inception meeting participated by DOST-PTRI Chief Science Research Specialist, Dr. Julius Leaño Jr.; project leader and personnel from DOST-PTRI; and key officials and staff of the Crops Research Division (CRD) and the Office of the Executive Director for the Administration, Resource Management and Support Services (OED-ARMSS) of DOST-PCAARRD.