By Jennie P. Arado – Sun-Star Philippines
A P150-MILLION budget proposal for this year for the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in Davao Region Integrated Halal Program, which is in partnership with three state universities in Mindanao, is expected to be approved by June.
According to DOST-Davao Regional Director Anthony Sales, the three-year program is a mandate under the Halal Law, which was promulgated in 2015. Components under this program include research and development, testing, human resource development, and technology transfer.
“Under that law, DOST should conduct research and development, help in the development of Halal science and technology experts, help with the transfer of halal-compliant technologies, and to assist in the testing of products and materials whether it is halal or haram,” Sales said.
The proposal was submitted to DOST-Philippine Council for Industry Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) and once approved by June, Sales said they will immediately start with the implementation of the program.
The research and development component will be done with the DOST partner schools, Central Mindanao University, University of Southern Mindanao, and the Sultan Kudarat State University.
“We should be able to develop new processing technologies, new products that are halal-compliant and those that can be transferred to the private sectors for commercialization,” Sales said. He added the program targets to develop halal alternatives for the different existing products in the market such as gelatins, which they are now trying to develop using fish like tuna and bangus.“The techno transfer component will be done by the DOST. We will be the one to transfer the developed technology. The human resource will be for the Science Education Institute. What we want is to develop curriculum or courses on halal Science and Technology,” said Sales.
He added they target to incorporate halal-concentrated curriculum and courses for high school, senior high schools, and college students for the country to be able to produce scientists specializing in halal and to be able to compete with other countries in terms of human resources especially in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) region.
Sales said they had already been sending their staff to Thailand where the Halal Science Center is. Thailand’s Halal Science Center specializes on trainings and halal product and services development including but not limited to pharmaceuticals, food, and logistics.
“If we have our own pool of halal scientists, the better. We can also enhance our research and development, our techno transfer, and our economic activities if we have experts on Halal,” Sales said.