In the early years, most of the rubber plantations in the Philippines were owned by big companies who set up their own research and development facilities. In the early 1960s, the strong demand for rubber prompted the government to organize and provide credit to small farmers, resulting in the dramatic increase in area planted, especially in Mindanao. To provide technical assistance and other development services to these smallholders, some government agencies organized core groups of people to provide research, development and extension (RDE) services. One of the organizations to provide RDE services was the Mindanao Institute of Technology now University of Southern Mindanao. With a grant of 1,024 hectares, a small group of instructors and professors helped out in research and extension work on rubber then later they were organized in PhilRubber. On April 13, 1998 PhilRubber generates and develops technologies for the production, processing and utilization of natural rubber and endeavors to promote and enhance the upstream and downstream development of rubber. It also undertakes in collaboration with other agencies and institutions and the transfer of technologies and practices to the various sectors of the industry through modern techniques and strategies of information dissemination.
In 2010, the 14th Senate Congress on their Third Regular Session, the PRRI was approved by the House of Representatives under the Republic Act 10089 an act creating the “PHILIPPINE RUBBER RESEARCH INSTITUTE TO DEVELOP THE PHILIPPINE RUBBER INDUSTRY AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES”. Under Section 1. Title-This act shall be known as the Philippine Rubber Research Institute Act of 2010. As Stated in Section 4 the creation of Philippine Rubber Research Institute – there is hereby created the Philippine Rubber Research Institute, hereinafter referred to as the PRRI, which shall be under the control and supervision of the Department of Agriculture (DA).
Under Section 3 as use in this Act, the PRRI refers to the main institute for rubber at the Mindanao State University (MSU) to be based in the municipality of Naga, Province of Zamboanga Sibugay and its satellite units as may be subsequently establish whose mandate is to initiate and administer research and development programs to improve quality and increase productivity of rubber especially for the benefit of smallholder rubber producers and processors.
Thus, the PRRI under section 5 shall have the following powers and functions:
- Propagate and promote the planting, maintenance, as well as wise utilization of rubber trees as source of latex and finished rubber products;
- Enable rubber producers and processors, especially smallholders, to have access to quality rubber tree seedlings, modern production techniques and other support services from production to marketing of rubber produce;
- Undertake training and capacity-building programs for rubber producers, processors and cooperatives in order to increase production of quality rubber and raise level of income especially of poor smallholders;
- Aid in the establishment of village-based rubber enterprises to generate livelihood opportunities and improve general well-being of large percentage of the workforce in agricultural communities;
- Promote cooperative development among smallholders and provide them access to resources, technological know-how, as well as decision-making processes for the enhancement of their rubber enterprises and the protection of their welfare;
- Initiate research and development projects on rubber in order to address technology and policy gaps in promoting a robust rubber industry, ensuring standards in production and meeting demands for quality rubber in both domestic and international trade; and
- Enter into memoranda of agreement and receive grants from local and foreign funding agencies through the DA upon the recommendation of the PRRI Advisory Board; or through the respective academic boards of satellite units housed in concerned state universities and colleges upon the recommendation of the PRRI Advisory Board.
Due to the coordination among stakeholders of PRRI and linkages with other research institution the PRRI shall monitor and evaluate the rubber research programs and identify the immediate needs and essential concerns in the rubber industry in consonance with the local and national economic development. It shall likewise coordinate with other government agencies in order to formulate strategies that would jump-start the growth of rubber industry. The PRRI and the local government units where there are suitable areas for planting of rubber trees shall jointly implement projects and programs necessary to achieve the goals of this Act. (By: Allan Boy L. Tabigue/Vanessa L.Palabrica).