By Estrella Z. Gallardo
Department of Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato T. de la Pena in his message during the Ground breaking of SPIL / GPL on March 5, 2019 at Likha St., PTD Building, DOST Complex, Bicutan, Taguig City started with a trivia.
SPLI stands for Simulation Packaging Testing Laboratory and GPL means Green Packaging Laboratory (SPLI/GPL).
The DOST on September 24, 1999 launched the Packaging R&D Center on PRDC as one of its flagship program with the support from the different industry sectors like the Packaging Institute of the Philippines (PIP) who were there on that ceremony (March 5, 2019).
The PRPC was established mainly to address issues related to poor packaging technology and design; lack of understanding/knowledge on the relevance of packaging, limited availability of packaging options; lack of information on the forms and regulations (e.g. Mandatory labeling, safety of packaging), and consumer preferences in overseas markets; limited access to packaging materials in the region; and lack of testing facility for packaging.
After 10 years, on August 29, 2009 under ITDI, PRDC become a formal division and is now known as the Packaging Technology Division or PTD.
PRDC was able to develop its capacity in packaging research, design and testing, and become a formal division on August 29, 2009.
“I was a witness to these two important events as Undersecretary of DOST, said de la Pena.
Now, this day, March 5, 2019, or 20 years ago, as the Secretary of DOST, he is again witnessing an important event of PTD, the ground breaking ceremony for the establishment of the simulation packaging testing laboratory (SPTL) and green packaging laboratory (GPL).
The Secretary called the attention of the contractor, RITVIT Corporation, to complete the project before the end of 2019. PTD will be happy to celebrate its 20th anniversary since its inception as PRDC and 10 years after as PTD.
While achieving a certain level of expertise on its own and learning by doing, PTD has evolved and transformed over the years. It has a strong belief that they need to partner with world leaders in packaging technology to further harness its people and facility in developing new packaging technology.
In June 2005, while PRDC was still a program, through its strong leadership the Government of Japan through Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) granted a technical cooperation project with PRDC.
In April 2013 another JICA project was again granted to PTD, entitled “Enhancing the Competitiveness of Fresh and Semi-Processed Agricultural Products through the application of Appropriate and Sustainable Packaging Technology”, which was implemented from April 2013 to March 2017.
The project has capacitated PTD on transport packaging technology for fresh produce in particular. In a span of eight (8) years, having two JICA projects granted to the same government unit was exceptional.
For the last 20 years, PTD has made a significant contribution in the development of packaging in our country. The micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) have benefited from the packaging research and development, innovation and design developed by PTD.
MSMEs products from the countryside have already expanded the radius of distribution from regional to national and even penetrated the export market. PTD also provides packaging testing services to enable our local industries to comply with national and international standards and regulations.
The tremendous pressure in advances and innovation in packaging technology, increasing requirements in terms of safety regulations in packaging, and discriminating consumer preference has made PTD to continue harnessing its capacity to create innovations and services that would satisfy the needs of the industries it serves.
PTD is entering to another goal of establishing a “Center for Logistics Research and Development” and the first step towards achieving this goal is the establishment of SPTL. The country is lagging behind in technology and innovation that will efficiently connect logistics in the supply chain management.
The SPTL will serve a hub for logistic companies and industries catering to the growing demand of E-commerce in developing and testing the performance of their transport packaging. Another area that PTD will be focusing for the next 5 years through its GPL is the development of green and sustainable packaging technology to address the issues related to environmental protection.
The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) recognizes the critical role of packaging in making the Philippine products competitive in the global market. We also recognize the remarkable track record of PTD for the last 20 years and its business approach in delivering packaging services.
DOST will continue to support PTD in achieving its goals. With this, “I am greatly happy to lead the ground-breaking ceremony for SPTL and GPL.”, Secretary de la Pena said. (MegaManila Science Journalists)