THE Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA)) for the enhancement and to fortify the halal integrity of the local products with the establishment of DOST Halal Verification Laboratories (HVLs).

The ceremony was held at the Dusit Thani Hotel Manila in Makati City last Thursday, Jan. 4. The MOA signing was by DOST Secretary Dr. Renato U. Solidum and by NCMF Secretary Atty. Guilling Mamondiong and witnessed by DOST undersecretaries for Regional Operations, Engr. Sancho A. Mabborang and Teodoro M. Gatchalian, respectively; DOST XI Regional Director, Dr. Anthony C. Sales; DOST-CALABARZON Regional Director, Ms. Emelita P. Bagsit; Hon. Mujiv S. Hataman, representative of the Lone District of Basilan, other directors and representatives from DOST regional operations and its attached agencies.

DOST as a member-agency of the Philippine Halal Export Development and Promotion Board (PHEDPB), aims to collaborate with the NCMF to support the promotion of the Philippine halal industry and to enhance market surveillance by utilizing advanced testing methods at HVLs in Region IV-A, Davao Region, Region VII, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

“Through this ceremonial signing, we will officially forge our partnership toward an increasingly innovative, creative and sustainable future for the halal industry. Developing food and nutrition is a vital aspect of our march towards socio-economic development,” Mabborang said in his speech, adding that the gathering provides an excellent narrative of a forefront position in the global halal economy.

Solidum, on the other hand, said that the ceremony is the formal sealing of the collaboration and opportunities to help maintain the quality of of the halal industry which will benefit the country.

 “These initiatives of DOST and other partners are among our ways to help achieve a strong and dynamic workforce for the country’s inclusive and sustainable growth. In upskilling the workforce, our government cannot carry on the work independently. We need a whole-of-nation approach—with government, academe, businesses, and civil society working together.” Sec. Solidum, further said.

DOST XI regional director, Dr. Sales, meanwhile stressed in his message that immediately after the passage of RA 10817 or An Act Instituting the Philippine Halal  Export Development and Promotion Act of 2016, creating for the Purpose the Philippine Halal Export Development and Promotion Board and for Other Purposes, the DOST then issued a memorandum or the support program of the agency to the halal industry development.

According to the Philippine Halal Export and Promotion Board, the DOST is mandated that it will serve as a member of PHEDPB. The DOST was likewise mandated to assist in the upgrading of facilities and institutions in halal research and development.

Atty. Mamondiong for his part, said “halal refers to healthy food.” He called on his fellow Muslims to thank Solidum as he jokingly said he (Solidum) has a “solid” support to the halal industry. The MOA signing aims to facilitate more research methods and advanced technology inputs that will enhance the production and competitiveness of the halal industry in the Philippines. (Nelson Santos / PAPI)