By: Raymart C. Narsico, DOST-MIMAROPA Regional Office
Athena Colline L. Verdey, DOST-MIMAROPA Regional Office
Ma. Josefina P. Abilay, DOST-MIMAROPA Regional Office

Participants of the Stakeholders’ Forum and Consultation on “Going Halal” with DOST-MIMAROPA Regional Director Dr. Ma Josefina P. Abilay and Senior Consultant of AQI. Dr. Bin Chik (center)

Food entrepreneurs in Palawan is now looking to venture into Halal industry or have their products certified as Halal to cater to the province’s booming Muslim population.

In the Stakeholders’ Forum and Consultation on “Going Halal” held January 22, 2017 at the Palawan State University (PSU), Puerto Princesa City Palawan, local micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and Muslim Halal enthusiasts gathered to learn about the different aspects of the industry- from the fundamentals of Halal, opportunities for businesses, product certification, to Halal standards. The event was spearheaded by the Department of Science and Technology-MIMAROPA (DOST-MIMAROPA) in partnership with PSU and Al-Qafilah International (AQI) Sdn Bhd, an international organization based in Malaysia which specializes in conducting educational and training activities for Halal awareness.

DOST-MIMAROPA Regional Director Dr. Ma. Josefina Abilay as she delivers her opening remarks during the Stakeholders’ Forum and Consultation on “Going Halal”

Dr. Ma. Josefina P. Abilay, Regional Director of DOST-MIMAROPA, formally opened the forum and consultation with an opening remarks emphasizing the opportunities that come along enhancing existing products and services to cater to the new and growing Halal market. Dr. Abilay also introduced the guest speaker, Dr. Zahimi Bin Chik, Senior Consultant of AQI. Dr. Bin Chik who himself, has worked with various international organizations on the development of halal industry.

With the theme ““How Going Halal can increase your sales?” the forum covered several topics including Definition of Halal, Benefits to Businesses, Benefits to Government, Opportunities in Halal Market, Acquiring Halal Certificate, and the Roles of Halal Industry Players. Concept of Halal Park, Halal trading house, and centralized Halal Slaughter House was also introduced to give the participants an idea of the myriad of opportunities to explore should Palawan go-Halal friendly.

Dr. Zahimi Bin Chik as he discusses the concept of Halal to the participants

After the series of discussion, participants have agreed to organize an association which they will call “Halal Business of Palawan” to advocate and lobby for Halal practices in the province. The association will be headed by the appointed president, Mr. Erick Yayen, owner of Ka-Inato Restaurant, one of the most popular restaurants in Puerto Princesa. The association will be pushing through initiatives for local MSMEs to infuse the concept of halal in their businesses and eventually be certified according to Halal standards.

A total of 42 participants composed of the members of the local food industry— processors and restaurant and hotel owners; representatives from the local government units, state universities and colleges; and members of the Muslim community in Palawan took part in the said activity.

What is Halal? Participants also shared their understanding of the Halal concept at the beginning of the forum