FILIPINO netizens are now at odds again over the national costume of Rabiya Mateo, who is now competing for the Miss Universe title. Candidly and objectively, I feel that her costume did not deliver the strength and beauty that she is very capable of delivering as a person even to an international audience. Given the stress, the overwhelming pressure of the competition and being away from home during a pandemic, Rabiya must be overwhelmed by all the preparations. To assist her, she needs a good design team for her wardrobe. Design is important. It is beyond simply colors and putting fabrics together. It is about conveying a message. The designers of Rabiya’s costume apparently failed to convey a strong and clear message. Nonetheless, it is good to know that this category is not part of the criteria for the crown.
This brings me now to my goal of thanking the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), particularly its attached agency, the Design Center of the Philippines (DCP) for launching #DesignCountsPH.
DesignCountsPH is the pioneering design economy mapping of the Philippines. It is a study to analyze the economic contribution and value chain of the design industry by mapping the design innovation ecosystem of the country and deep dive into nine cities: Manila, Makati, Quezon, Taguig, Baguio, Pampanga, Cebu, Davao, and Cagayan de Oro.
#DesignCountsPH is building longer tables for all design stakeholders to be counted and be part of the conversation to nurture strategies that drive innovation, sharpen national competitiveness, and uplift the Philippine design economy to a global scale.
The DCP is created by virtue of Republic Act No. 10557 or the Philippine Design Competitiveness Act of 201, which aims to enhance the competitive and innovative quality of Philippine products and design services; create market-responsive design services, while advocating for economic and environmental sustainability; promote an economy and society driven by design and creativity responsive to our fast-changing times and reflective of the Filipino culture and identity; and advocate the protection of intellectual property rights to these ideas and innovations.
Under the law, the Philippines shall promote and strengthen the Philippine design industry to create integrated, forward-thinking and long-range direction and strategy for the design industry; and to provide long-term guidance to promote national awareness on the use of design as a strategic tool for economic competitiveness and social innovation.
The country shall also integrate design into other industries and aspects of society in order to create a demand for good design and to extend its impact economically, socially, culturally, and environmentally.
The law mandates for the incorporation of design as a priority component in national planning and development; and ultimately, encourage and drive innovation so that the Philippines may use as leverage our raw materials, natural resources and creativity to stay ahead of the curve.
The DCP which leads #DesignCountPH shall help in policymaking by crafting the National Design Policy. Its mandate is to promote design awareness and culture, design promotion (local and global, online and offline), design integration (intra and inter-industry), and design protection (innovation and technology support office).
It shall also take care of Design for Development, which includes Design for Social Innovation (Design for Public Good), Design for Government, Design for Sustainability, Design and Innovation, Research and Development, Skills Development and Mentoring for Competitiveness and Brand of Design Excellence, Design Education and International Relations.
The DCP shall promote design as a creative tool for improving the quality and competitiveness and branding of Filipino products in the global market; as a strategic tool of value creation for sustainable economic growth and development; and as an innovative tool for enhancing the quality of human life.
It shall also develop and maintain a creative research and development program on product design, development and improvement of Philippine products and services, including those created by the small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
The DCP shall also conduct continuing research on product and product packaging design trends, materials and processing technologies and create, develop, promote and upgrade the design of all Philippine products and services, including those created by the SMEs.
It is mandated to conduct seminars and workshops on product design and development, set up design exhibitions, publish design-related materials, ensure protection of Filipino design ideas, products and other outputs of creative talents, promote design education throughout the country to meet the needs of Philippine industries, and promote Philippine design here and all over the world. The design-led economy of the Philippines is off to a good start.