COTABATO CITY – In line with the celebration of the National Science and Technology Week, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) will hold its first Halal Congress on Friday at the Alnor Convention Hall here.

The congress will feature an exhibit of halal-certified products in the region and a forum on updates on halal technology and industry. The region’s Science and Technology department (DOST-ARMM) will spearhead the event.

Mon-Em Abangad, the agency’s information officer, said the development of the region’s halal industry is among the top economic agendas of the present ARMM administration.

The halal congress, he said, will serve as a venue in exchanging ideas about advancements in the halal industry and a gateway to future partnerships with different sectors and organizations in the promotion of halal industry in ARMM and in the Philippines as a whole.

Moreover, Abangad said the activity will also create awareness on the concept of halal and its effect in the economy of the region and in the entire country. The agency is expecting at least 200 participants from ARMM and nearby areas. These would come from local government units, private sector, religious groups, business councils, and international nongovernmental organizations.

Abangad said there will be speakers from Malaysia who will tackle the global halal industry as well as halal research and development. Other expected speakers are Director Anthony Sales of DOST-XI and Director Brenda Manzano of DOST-IX.

A memorandum of understanding will be signed during the congress between DOST-ARMM and Muslim Mindanao Halal Certification Board Inc. and Halal International Chamber of Commerce and Industries of the Philippines, Inc. Both groups are halal-certifiers accredited by the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos.

The memorandum will strengthen the collaboration between DOST-ARMM and the halal-certifying bodies on halal promotion. Halal means permissible and Islam requires Muslims to consume only halal foods and drinks.

Many commodities, both food and non-food items, sold in the domestic market are now halal-certified. Halal products are entirely free of pork, alcohol and, in case of meat, specifically poultry and livestock, slaughtered in accordance with what is prescribed in Islam.

The National Science and Technology Week will run from October 8 to 10 at the Alnor Convention Center in Cotabato City with the theme “Philippines: A Science Nation Innovating for Global Competitiveness”. (Bureau of Public Information)