COTABATO CITY, March 6 (PIA) -- Science and Technology Secretary Mario G. Montejo is strongly supporting the initiatives to develop the halal industry and make it a national program due to its huge potential to help the country’s economy, a top regional official said yesterday.
Dr. Zenaida P. Hadji Raof Laidan, DOST-12 director, said in a recent meeting with the regional directors of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the secretary emphasized the need to strengthen the halal industry in consonance with the National Science and Technology Innovation Plan.
“I recognize that halal is an important industry and I support it. We will make it a national program and we will start in Mindanao,” he told the regional directors.
Dr. Laidan added that she was also instructed by Sec. Montejo to continue with the initiatives to make halal a stronger industry in the country.
“Secretary Montejo considers it important to support the development of the halal industry because it is rapidly growing due to the strong demand for halal-certified products especially in the foreign market, she said.
President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III earlier identified the halal industry as one of the key investment areas that the government wants to give focus owing to the vast global market.
In the last few years, Dr. Laidan said the DOST-12 has been working to develop the halal industry through its Philippine Science and Technology Program for the Development of the Halal Industry.
Ms. Laidan said it is important for the Philippines to establish integrity and credibility with its halal industry given that the nation is a non-Muslim country.
“That, we can do through science- and technology-based approaches alongside the religious requirement,” she noted.
So far, the DOST-12 operates a halal laboratory in Cotabato City. It is also building a larger state-of-the-art laboratory facility that shall be called the Philippine National Halal Laboratory and Science Center in Koronadal City, the seat of government of Soccskargen Region (Region 12).
The center was conceptualized to become the clearinghouse of halal products coming in and out of the country.
She called for the complementation of efforts among other government agencies and the private sector to strengthen the country’s halal industry and to make it sustainable. (DOST-12/DEDoguiles/PIA 12)