DSCF0826Sittie Maleah Fatima M. Macog, License Technical Staff of National Meat Inspection Section, discusses the Philippine National Standard for Halal to  55 attendees composed of Palawan’s Provincial and Municipal Agriculturists and Veterinarians as well as Department of Agriculture's staff in the province. ###Photo by Denice Joelle Benosa, RAFIS, DA-MIMAROPA.

With the development of RA10817 or the Philippine Halal Exportation Development and Promotion Act 0f 2016, the Department of Agriculture created the DA-HALAL Food Industry Development Program or Halal Program as part of its banner programs.

Halal Program is set to establish measures to make the industry sustainable and globally competitive.

As the program was officially launched on April 2018, DA started its promotion including an information caravan in Palawan---where there are a large population of Muslims and Muslim Tourists in MIMAROPA.
To date, DA-MIMAROPA is still on its initial stage of implementation. This stage includes the Orientation of the Halal Food Industry Development Program for DA and Local Government Unit Implementers.

The orientation happened on September 12-13 at Skylight Hotel, Puerto Princesa City and was attended by the Provincial and Municipal Agriculturists, Veterinarians, and DA provincial staff. It was organized by the Regulatory Division headed by Mrs. Helen Aceret.

Attendees had a grasp of the Program’s basic concept, principle, opportunities, and where religion and business intersect that were discussed by Mr. Datumbihan Pangonotan, Planning Officer III, DA-HALAL Project Management Office. He also thoroughly discussed what the scope of the RA 10817 is and what does halal (permissible in Islamic Law) means for Muslims.

As Islamic Law is very critical with animal slaughtering, experts from National Meat Inspection and Standards were also invited at the event to explain the halal method of meat preparation and the animal meat that they consider as haram (unlawful or prohibited) such as pork and dogs.

Meat Inspection Service and Halal was discussed by Dr. Ma. Elizabeth Callanta, OIC-Regional Director. Philippine National Standards for Halal Slaughtering Practice for Ruminants and Poultry were discussed by Dr. Sittie Maleah Fatima Macog, License Technical Staff. While Halal Agriculture and Fisheries Products and Halal Feeds were discussed by Mr. Sahraman C. Diosimba, Project Development III of DA-Halal Project Management Office.

Good Agricultural Practices was also discussed in the orientation by Mr. Khalil Pandapatan. GAP that promotes a safe, healthy and environment-friendly food for people is in line with the Halal Program’s objectives. Hence, it is among the minimum requirements for Halal Certification.

The Regional Department of Trade and Industries (DTI) was also present in the event with its Assistant Division Chief of Export Marketing Bureau, Mr. Albino Ganchero who discussed the business opportunities especially for Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines-East Asia Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) and exportation.

In his discussion he underscored that the there will be a projected global trade volume of $3 Trillion for Halal Food and Life Sector. He also mentioned that Muslim travel market has been growing by US $10 Billion a year since 2014 and is currently valued at US $169-Billion. Indeed, a big market opportunity for tourism and agri-fishery business.

However, for the country to get a share of this big numbers, it needs halal certified restaurants, hotels, and other food and non-food products. Hence, promotion of halal is widely done by the PH Halal Development and Promotion Board composed of DTI as Chair; National Commission of Muslim Filipinos as Vice Chair; Department of Agriculture, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Tourism, Department of Health, Department of Foreign Affairs, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, and MinDA as members.

Mr. Pangonotan once encouraged the attendees during the orientation to persevere in increasing the production of halal products to cater more Muslim tourists as well as consumers. “Be it tourism babalik yan sa food,” he said.

It is important for Muslims to know what they eat or consume are prepared in Islamic procedure because it is stated in their Qu’ran (Muslim Scripture) that they have to maintain a healthy mind and body through eating only halal foods so that they can contribute to the welfare of the society. It is also stated in the Islamic Law that their prayer will be rejected if the food they eat is a haram.

Accreditation procedures for certifying bodies were also discussed in the event by Ms. Mary Joan De Pablo, Senior TI Development Specialist, Philippine Accreditation Bureau, DTI.

After this orientation, DA will be visiting Oriental Mindoro and other island municipalities in Palawan. A group consultation will also be happening with different business establishments, cooperatives, and organization.

DSCF0815Participants pose for a photo opportunity with the speakers and organizers of the orientation. ###Photo by Denice Joelle Benosa, RAFIS, DA-MIMAROPA.

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