Phl at risk of losing designing advantage
Ehda Dagooc (The Freeman) - March 7, 2015 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The country is bound to lose its competitive advantage in designing if issues on the lack of competent educators will not be addressed.

World renowned industrial designer Kenneth Cobonpue said “It's difficult now. Design schools have difficulty in finding good faculty. We did not invest in design early on."

Cobonpue is the chairman of De La Salle University Industrial Program.

The Cebuano designer, named by TIME magazine as "rattan’s first virtuoso", said that there is a need for the Philippines to catch up in terms of helping the waning design strength of the country. Similarly, Cebu which has been banking on its design advantage should take this alarming development seriously.

Cobonpue, in his effort to help develop a world-class community of designers in Cebu from the rich pool of talented creative minds in Cebu, used to give pro bono lectures at the University of the Philippines Cebu.

Recently, the government announced that it has established five regional design centers in an effort to institutionalize and promote design and culture nationwide.

The creation of such centers tentatively in Davao, Cebu, Bacolod, Legazpi and Pampanga is expected to benefit designers, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), industry associations, and design faculty members and students.

A public-private partnership project, the centers provide training, seminars, workshops, materials research and development and other design capability improvement activities. These also share online design trends subscription and other reference materials.

These design promotion programs aim to improve skills, knowledge and capabilities of regional designers at par with global standards; and increase product quality and market-competitiveness of SMEs.

Republic Act No. 10557, also known as the “Philippine Design Competitiveness Act of 2013”, mandates the Design Center of the Philippines to establish more public creative zones and environment in Metro Manila and other central hubs in different regions across the country.

According to Cobonpue, this gesture from the government will certainly aid the dwindling supply of good designers in the country, but suggested a more extensive and aggressive programs by both private and government sectors.

Cebu's furniture, fashion  accessories, home decor exports are largely banking on the supposedly "extraordinary" design capability of Cebuanos.

However, Cobonpue said creative talents should be complemented with proper and formal design education, if we were to sustain global recognition in design. (FREEMAN)

 

CEBU COBONPUE DE LA SALLE UNIVERSITY INDUSTRIAL PROGRAM DESIGN DESIGN CENTER OF THE PHILIPPINES KENNETH COBONPUE LEGAZPI AND PAMPANGA METRO MANILA PHILIPPINE DESIGN COMPETITIVENESS ACT REPUBLIC ACT NO UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES CEBU
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