Philippines: OIC backs PH halal initiatives – DOST

12183986-philippines-flagCOTABATO CITY — The pan-Islamic body Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) has expressed support for the First Halal Assembly and expected to gather at least 40 representatives from around the world to share and synergize efforts for the development of world halal products, a science and technology official said today.

Philippine Halal afficianado and specialist Dr. Zenaida Laidan, regional director of DOST-12, said her office is taking the lead in preparation for the event which will take place Shari-la hotel in Makati City on June 3-5.

Theme of the international assembly is “Synergizing Halal thru Science and Technology.”

Laidan said the influential OIC and the Halal Development Council (HDC) recognize the efforts done by the Philippine Halal development, especially the DOST-12’s comprehensive program aimed at meeting global halal standards and services.

“Per communication we received from these bodies, the DOST-12’s efforts has already set the highest authority for halal certification given the presence of scientists and facilities to ensure halal products passed the international standards through science processes and laboratory,” Laidan said.

DOST-12 is managing the sole Halal Science facility in the whole country which is based inn Cotabato City and eyes expansion in Koronadal City once the facility will be completed and sufficiently funded.

During the International Forum on halal production held in Thailand last December, Laidan said the OIC officials revealed there are only three countries in the world recognized and accredited for standardization. These are Pakistan, Thailand and Philippines.

She said President Aquino has lauded the initiatives of DOST-12 in ensuring the products from the Philippines pass halal international standards.

In his message to this event, President Benigno Simeon Aquino said: “I am pleased by the efforts of the DOST Region XII in organizing this forum, which aims to enlighten and encourage participant, to help advance the Halal Industry through S&T in order to penetrate the global market; this will also contribute greatly to our goal of preparing the Philippines for the ASEAN Economic Integration in 2015”

“To survive and surmount, technology is key – a unified Philippines, that recognizes technology as a game-changer that allows us to transform problem into opportunities for inclusive and sustainable growth,” said DOST cabinet secretary Mario Montejo.

The role of science and technology is vital in the growth of Small and Medium Entrepreneurs in the countryside. A huge part on the efforts was aimed to help this sector for their products to penetrate the six billion global halal market, especially the natural and organic products.

During the event in Thailand, the Philippine Halal Logo to the world was launched and solicited recognition from the OIC, Laidan said.

In the logo, it says that DOST-12 has the highest authority for Halal certification.

She said this aims to help Halal certifiers to be credible in their dealings as the entity or business firm they certify has undergone credible halal practices.

She stressed that presently many food products in food chains displaying halal logos are not yet compliant to Halal standards.

“We want to help them using our laboratory, boost the industry and make the Muslims protected from Haram contaminants and assured of quality foods and services,’ Laidan said.

DOST-12 together with other national government agencies like Agriculture, Trade and Industry and the Muslim affairs are working together to achieve long desired development of Halal industry, Laidan said.