INNOVATION and sustainability.
The World Halal Assembly Philippines (WHAP) 2019 held on February 26-27 chose a theme revolving around the above two words.
It was the brainchild of a M’ranaw woman leader, Dr. Zenaida P. Hadji Raof Laidan, the head as regional director of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) XII.
Many local and international thought leaders — experts, scientists, and Islamic religious leaders and women — participated in the event that sailed on smoothly at the EDSA Shangri-La Hotel, Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila.
Laidan chose the theme “Innovation for a Sustainable Halal Ecosystem” as she said that the two words are the “driving forces of the modern world. Both harnessed one behind the other.”
DOST XII, supported by the DOST Central Office now headed by Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña, has been conducting the WHAP for the last few years, every time with the participation of the international halal leaders from the OIC member-States as well as from the United States and other regions of the world.
“For the past years, we have focused on the given problems and in identifying solutions to those particular problems. Now that solutions have been provided, challenges never seem to decrease but increasing both in quality and quantity.
DOST XII Regional Director Dr. Zenaida P. Hadji Raof Laidan, DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña, and Muslim World League (Rabitah) Deputy Secretary General Abdurrahman Al-Zaid.
“Much have been achieved and so much more to do. Most important than even in our endeavors is the integration of Eco-Halal in aspects of program implementation,” said Laidan, apparently alluding to the problems besetting what others dubbed is still “infant halal industry.”
But it is not easy, the DOST XII acknowledged.
“Achieving a picture-perfect Sustainable Halal Ecosystem in the country is still a long-way. But what count the most are our actions today,” she emphasized. “We innovate to shape the future. Every journey starts from awareness. Consensus happens when insights, solutions and plans have been laid down, made clear and made certain for the common good.”
On the other hand, Laidan pointed out that the Philippine halal industry does not need to go back to square one, for the DOST already has laid in place an existing program for halal, which is the Philippine Science and Technology Program for the Development of the Halal Industry.
Among the thought leaders at WHAP 2019.
“And it has been substantially proven as a comprehensive continuing program, being successfully carried out by DOST XII,” she assured.
Meanwhile, she said the Philippines is not an Islamic country, and implementing the halal industry program must take into account its institutional, political and societal foundation that calls for effecting incremental changes to attain a sustainable halal ecosystem.
“After all, we always intend to go beyond words concretizing a doable plan of action, the soonest possible time,” the DOST XII head said.
On February 25, Laidan led the inauguration of the Philippine National Halal Laboratory and Science Center (PNHLSC) in Paraiso, Koronadal City, South Cotabato.
DOST XII’s state-of-the-art halal hub and science center in Koronadal City.
DOST XII is dubbed SOCCSKSARGEN which stands for South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, and General Santos City.
Laidan said the PNHLSC is the country’s “pioneering halal facility…envisioned to be a certifying laboratory for halal and to serve as the clearing house of halal certified products coming in and out of the country for the benefit of the halal consumers.”
“This is the first building dedicated to halal envisioned as a one-stop shop center with the ultimate goal to develop locally-made Halal Premium Brand compliant to internationally accepted standards and requirements adopting a Unified Global Halal Standard,” she said.
Over in Mandaluyong City, delegates of the WHAP 2019 issued a 13-point recommendation at the conclusion of the event.
Bosnian Islamic scholar Mufti Mustafa Ceric.
One of the recommendations pertains to the local and international thought leaders of the world halal industry unanimously endorsing to the Philippine government the adoption of the Unified Global Halal Standards of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation-Standards and Metrology Institute for Islamic Countries (OIC-SMIIC).
The SMIIC offices with headquarters in Turkey is described “as a sound mechanism for harmonization of standards” among the (57-member States of) Organization of Islamic Cooperation…to eliminate trade barriers (including in the halal industry).
One of the thought leaders at WHAP 2019.
“The SMIIC also aims at achieving uniformity in metrology, laboratory testing and standardization activities among Member States and ensuring education and training and providing technical assistance to the OIC Members in the domain of standardization and metrology,” SMIIC said in its website.
Laidan said that the Philippines being not a member of the OIC, yet SMIIC has given permission to DOST XII to adopt SMIIC’s standards relating to halal processes.
In the WHAP 2018 the DOST XII head announced SMIIC’s approval of her request to use a Halal logo accredited by the Turkey-based OIC institution.
National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) Secretary/CEO Saidamen Balt Pangarungan.
Here is the complete WHAP 2019 Resolutions that Laidan sent to SDN — Science and Digital News.
World Halal Assembly Philippines 2019
Resolved, as it is hereby resolved that this World Halal Assembly Philippines 2019 themed, “Innovation for a Sustainable Halal Ecosystem” being held at Isla Grand Ballroom, EDSA Shangri-La, Mandaluyong, Metro Manila, set forth the following recommendations:
1. Concretize support of the entire Halal Community on the Institutionalization of the Philippine National Halal Laboratory and Halal Science Center (PNHLSC) as a Certifying Laboratory for Halal Technical Regulations;
2. Philippine National Halal Standards to adopt the Unified Global Halal Standards of the Organization of Islamic Countries- Standards and Metrology Institute for Islamic Countries (OIC-SMIIC);
3. Promote and develop initiatives on Eco-Halal;
4. Promote and inculcate Halal culture including the strengthening of morals and ethics especially among children and the youth;
5. Develop a critical mass of Quality Human Resource in all fields of the Halal sector;
6. Share best practices thru accommodation of delegates from partner-countries like hosting of Halal Trainings and Study Missions and the like for Halal exchange of knowledge and benchmarking;
7. Encourage and convince Philippine Banking Institutions especially the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to include in their banking system the Halal Financing System;
8. End to end verification of fund sources to be used in Halal banking and micro-financing for thorough compliance of the Shariah Law;
9. Adoption and implementation of Blockchain for an assured safety of Philippine-made Halal products for exports;
10. Encourage unified action and synergized efforts of government, academe and private sectors in complementing and strengthening Halal S&T efforts to boost development of the Halal sector in the country and contribute upshot in the global Halal economy;
11. Hosting of similar Halal Assembly in the country annually to fill the gaps and identify as well as expand areas of collaboration;
12. Participation to related Halal Advocacy and Halal events in other countries to create innovation system for strengthening of partnerships and collaboration;
13. Reassure inclusion of innovation in all aspects of development endeavors for Halal toward the achievement of our common goal for the whole Ummah — a Sustainable Halal Economy.
Laidan assured DOST XII ‘s and her to continue “promoting advocacy and policy development on halal as well as in building the necessary facility which are tools to gain the trust and confidence of our halal consumers and attract more investors.”
She said this is aimed at even more strengthening the “Philippine halal industry and contribute to socio-economic growth and sustainable development.” (EKU)