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BICUTAN, PHILIPPINES — The first national packaging center soon will rise in Bicutan at the compound of the Department of Science and Technology.

Science and technology secretary William Padolina said DOST will provide the building for research and development of the packaging industry, testing, library and training facilities.

The European Community will shoulder the cost of equipment and local staff training, while DOST will provide the staff to ensure the center's continuous operation.

Padolina told the Packaging Institute of the Philippines that the advent of trade liberalization, export-led growth and international competition has exerted pressure on domestic industries to shape up or wither in the economic arena.

He cited an example in the food and beverage industries alone where the level of food waste can reach 25 percen t— about US$1 billion — because of faulty and inadequate packaging of the products for export.

The domestic packaging sector still is backward and underdeveloped compared with other Philippine production sectors, Padolina said. He also cited a study that described the following problems of the domestic packaging industry:

Lack of appropriate technological interventions, because of limited working exposure with foreign enterprises. This drawback clogs the unrestricted flow of technological innovations and trends and restricts the packaging sector's ability to respond to consumer pressure.

Lack of awareness of and information on specifications, international legislation, standards, packaging techniques, quality procedures, market requirements, consumer preferences and package design, both structural and graphics.

Lack of facilities for materials testing.

Limitations of existing training facilities, particularly for nontechnical personnel in all aspects of packaging.

Lack of coordination among materials suppliers, converters, fillers and package users.

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