A Philippine National Laboratory and Science Center Building (PNLSCB)?
Yes, and it is rising in Koronadal City, South Cotabato, Southern Philippines.
The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) through DOST-SOCCSKSARGEN (DOST XII) will inaugurate the new building sometime October next month.
Dr. Zenaida (Hadja Shayma) P. Hadji Raof Laidan, DOST XII regional director, said the PNLSCB will house the Philippine Halal Laboratory that will cater to local and international business engaged in the production, manufacturing, and marketing of halal products.
Products can be halal food, which is the largest market globally, or pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.
The new halal laboratory that is expected to be complemented with state-of-the-art DNA verification and testing equipment for the detection of porcine, alcohol and their derivatives will also double as halal certifying facility in collaboration with Muslim religious leaders (ulama) and Shari’ah law practitioners.
Needless to say, the halal facility will also be operated by chemists, analysts, food technologists, among others.
“We have technical staff. We also implement R&D (research and development) projects to develop new products. Other than food, there are health-care products and even cosmetics that should be halal,” said Laidan.
Headed by Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña, DOST Main is strongly in support of the Philippines government’s halal development program aimed not only at the local — but also the international — halal market.
Photo of Secretary Fortunato de la Peña (EKU); Halal Logo from DOST XII.
“We support the entire Halal Program led by the DTI (Department of Trade and Industry). The DOST takes care of providing the facilities and laboratory test services to make sure that the food or products is free from components not acceptable for halal, like porcine and alcohol,” de la Peña was quoted by the BusinessMirror.
As if to prove his point, the DOST chief said there are now Halal Laboratories for DOST Regions XI, XII, and IV-A, located in Davao City, Cotabato City, and Laguna, respectively.
Each of the laboratory was established at a cost of Php37 million, he added.
And now, the new one in Koronadal City that will be housed in the PNLSCB, where the laboratory in Cotabato City will be transferred.
Meanwhile, international Muslim leaders have recognized the work of Laidan in promoting the halal industry in the Philippines and its acceptance in the world stage.
No less than Bosnia-Herzegovina Mufti Mustafa Ceric dubbed Laidan the “Queen of Halal in Asia” for her work and advocacy.
The Bosnian scholar on Islam made the high compliment in public during the World Halal Assembly (WHA) organized and hosted by DOST XII in January 2018.
Apparently, the PNLSCB is another feat for the DOST XII regional director.
Image from DOST XII.
“This will serve as a one-stop shop for halal. Before its completion, we already have an existing laboratory in Cotabato City operating since 2010. So, this will be strengthened if we can already transfer to Koronadal,” Laidan said.
She said DOST XII plans to seek partnerships with other organizations both local and international.
One of them is the Standards and Metrology Institute for the Islamic Countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC-SMIIC).
(This is a developing story that will be updated every now and then.) (EKU)