To address the worsening situation of the industry, a group of businessmen coming from the print, graphic arts and communications sectors got together, pooled their resources and discussed ways and means of resolving the issues. The focus was to complement machines with technical skills: good printing equipment alone do not produce quality printing. Thus on July 27, 1967 the group headed by a Dutch missionary, formed the Philippine Printing Technical Foundation (PPTF). Being printers themselves, Fr. Cornelio Lagerwey of the Missionary of the Sacred Heart Congregation (MSC) and Mr. Bert Benipayo of Regal Printing Company saw the difficulties of the situation and took the task to themselves.
PPTF is a private, non-stock, member-supported, non-profit institution dedicated to the upliftment of the graphic arts communications industry through a program of manpower training and upgrading of knowledge and skills.
The PPTF incorporators were Luis Q. Abiva of Hiyas Press, Alberto D. Benipayo of Regal Printing Company, Pablo Bustamante of Bustamante Press, Mario P. Chanco of Manor Press, Ricardo E. Ocampo a printing technical consultant, Genaro Ong of Social Communication Center, Frederic Ritzma of GRAMESCO, and Igmedio R. Silverio of Philippine Graphic Arts.
Board of Trustees
The Board of Trustees is vested with guidance and decision making. The first set of Trustees was composed of Ramon C. Ordoveza Sr., Alexander Adamson, Tsitung Gan, Charles B. Harper, Antonio R. de Joya, William J. Suter, Bienvenido Tantoco, Peter Robert Towell, and Fr. Cornelio Lagerwey. Atty. Mariano C. Ereso, Jr. was the corporate secretary.
Two months after the birth of PPTF, a six-month General Printing Course was conducted from Sept. 1967 to March 1968. The 45 participants, who came from a wide sector — print buyers, printing salesmen, job coordinators, account executives, apprentices and printshop owners themselves — were taught the theoretical and practical aspects of the printing trade.
This started the series of upgrading courses that were offered for specific groups of workers in the printing plant. These were in camera, stripping, graining and platemaking, paper and ink, photo-composition, letterpress and offset printing, finishing and cost estimating. These have become the standard fares of PPTF courses which were modified from time to time, discarding courses that have become outmoded, like graining and letterpress printing.
Printing owners and managers had their own manager’s course. Production supervisors had their production planning and control seminar. More and more printing owners have become aware of the importance of manpower training that it became a common sight to find two or three personnel from the same company attending upgrading courses.
In 1968, Fr. Lagerwey successfully made arrangement with the Dutch government for young printing technicians to come to the country to assist our local printers through training programs. The first batch from the Organization of Netherlands Volunteers came on April 18, 1968 and stayed for two years. It helped the Foundation offer the first advanced program in January of the following year. Courses offered were reproduction photography, hand composition, machine composition, letterpress, offset and bindery. One of them was Jack Bruin, who eventually established himself in the country, marrying a Filipina and putting up his own graphic machine dealership. He became one of the Foundation’s Trustees during his stint with Votra. Likewise, he became involved with the Printing Industry Board Foundation (PIBFI).
From October 1969 until February 1970, the second advanced program was conducted, with specialized courses in reproduction photography, letterpress and offset.
The first Beginner’s Course for the underprivileged boys and girls was conducted from October 1970 to March 1971. Circa January-February 1971, the maiden issue of “Grafika” Magazine was circulated. It started out as a bi-monthly publication prior to becoming a quarterly. “Grafika”, as a magazine, provides its readers with information and technical updates in the graphic arts industry.
The second Dutch mission arrived in April 1971 and was instrumental in conducting the seminar program for managers, salesmen, supervisors, and press operators.
In 1979, the PPTF technical staff was reorganized and was now fully composed of Filipino printing instructors specializing in letterpress, offset, reproduction photography, prepress operation, art & copy preparation and others. The staff underwent 2 years of technical upgrading sessions conducted by 2 German technicians namely: Hans Groeschke, Art and Copy Preparation specialist and Peter Witzig, an expert on Offset Press Operation. They were sponsored by a German non-government organization.
The first monthly edition of the other publication of the PPTF called the “Frontliner” was made available in January 1981, with Atty. Arsenio R. Reyes as Editor. In 1984, the “Frontliner” editions were put to an interim pause. A newsletter which called itself the “PPTF Bulletin” replaced the “Frontliner” and ventured its maiden issue in January 1984.
Circa 1987-1988, the “PPTF Bulletin” was lifted off the press. Truth of the matter was that the “PPTF Bulletin” as a paper did not have as appealing a name as the “Frontliner” had, based on the comments of its readers. Thereafter, the “Frontliner” resumed its publications. Such events are a reflection of the PPTF Board of Trustees’ continuing concern for publications focused on the printing industry.
In 1991, during the term of then president Wilfredo Ileto, a printing exhibit was held to showcase the latest in the industry. This exhibit has come to be known as Printech. It has become a major project of the Foundation, a must-attend trade-show for local printers who intend to modernize, at the same time a source of revenue to sustain projects and administrative expenses.
The first desktop publishing seminar was conducted for printers and publishers in 1991, the graduates of which were immediately employed after.
In 1993, the third Printech was held at the SM Megatrade Hall, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City, to accommodate the increasing number of businesses in the graphic arts industry.
PPTF aims to develop the Philippine printing industry to the level of professionalism found in other countries where excellent schools are devoted exclusively to the science and art of printing. The Foundation continues to focus on its upgrading seminars whether in the PPTF classroom in Sta. Mesa, Manila or in-plant venues to help printers improve the skills of their personnel.
Undoubtedly, the thousands of people trained by PPTF since 1967 have greatly contributed to the improvement of the quality in graphic arts industry. The pool of instructors has also been acting as consultants in plant setups and reorganization plans, as well as in technical aspects of plant operations.
The Foundation is governed by a 15-member board of Trustees elected by the general membership in November each year. Among the elected members of the Board are the President, 1st Vice President, 2nd Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer; chairmen of the committees concerned with various projects of the Foundation are also selected. There is also a permanent Secretariat that provides administrative services to the officers, committees and members of the Foundation.
Membership is divided into three categories, namely: a) Regular Members – those who are directly engaged in the printing, packaging and publishing business. They could either be individual or corporate members. b) Associate Members — those who are involved in print-related industries such as advertising, public relations, as well as design agencies, print buyers, manufacturers and suppliers of graphic arts and supplies and other related organizations who support the aims and purposes of the Foundation. c) Honorary Members — those who have confirmed membership by virtue of a unanimous vote of the Board of Trustees for exemplary service to the Foundation.
Membership fees include a one-time admission fee and an annual fee for both individual, corporate and associate members.
Meetings and Conferences
General membership meetings are held quarterly. Technical lectures on special subjects are incorporated into these meetings not only to keep a lively atmosphere but also to inform the members on topics that are new to them. Special conferences and functions are also held every now and then to enable members to escape the humdrum yet taxing events of everyday life. Summer fun runs, sports tournaments and special gatherings are coordinated with other organizations to give members time to have fun and engage in some worthwhile activities and also to meet people from allied organizations.
The future is bright for the setting up of a real printing school. The dream is to offer formal education in the graphic arts and printing technology like those offered by the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, the London School of Printing in England, or even to a lesser degree, the Singapore School of Printing.
This goal is now being actively pursued by PPTF. For the first time ever in the Philippines, skills standards are to be established by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) for the content of training courses to further develop and improve the local printing industry in the light of the stiff competition and opportunities brought about by the ASEAN Economic Integration. This has been the long-cherished dream of the Philippine Printing Technical Foundation.
Towards this end, PPTF partnered with PUM, a Dutch non-profit organization of senior experts founded in the Netherlands in 1978. PPTF held a series of seminar-workshops from February 2017 until June 2017, to train representatives of PPTF members and non-members to help develop with TESDA the training regulations. PPTF and PUM held Comprehensive Technical Upgrade Workshop Seminars in the following areas: Prepress Technology; Press Technology (sheet-fed offset); Press Technology (web-fed offset); Post Press Technology; Service Mechanic (Mechanical) and Service Mechanical (Electronic).
Furthermore, under the leadership of incumbent president, Atty. Dominador D. Buhain, PPTF spearheaded in cooperation with the Printing Industry Board Foundation, Inc. (PIBFI) a joint exhibit of seven (7) printing associations for the purpose of unifying all associations in the printing and allied industries, namely: (1) Association of Law Book Authors of the Philippines (ALBAP); (2) Association of Paper Traders of the Philippines (APTP); (3) Filipino-Chinese Printers Association, Inc. (FCPAI); (4) Philippine Educational Publishers Association (PEPA); (5) Philippine Printing Technical Foundation, Inc. (PPTF); (6) Printing Industries Association of Davao, Inc. (PIADI); and (7) Screen Printing & Imaging Digital Graphic Association of the Philippines (SIDGAP).
The coalition of all sectors of the printing industry towards this common goal will effect a very different scenario: a landscape of highly-skilled printers blending in with the latest in printing technology, gradually evolving towards the beckoning of global standards and competition.