Doha, 28 Dzulhijjah 1436/12 October 2015 (MINA) – The Philippines through National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) is seeking to establish relations with Qatar in the fields of education and halal industry, according to media reports.
A delegation led by NCMF Secretary Yasmin Busran-Lao is in Qatar now to meet institutions and agencies to explore possible partnerships.
Lao said they have met Qatar University (QU) officials and the areas of possible collaborations discussed included scholarship exchange and research to develop the Philippine halal industry, International Islamic News Agency (IINA) quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.
She also noted that through the research QU could help in the development of the industry, which could be a source in meeting food security needs of both parties.
For his part, NCMF Commissioner Edil Baddiri said there is also a plan to invite investors from Qatar such as Hassad Food, which focuses on food security in Qatar.
“A 100-hectare plot has been allocated for halal industry in the Zamboanga Economic Zone (Zamboecozone). Our goal is to connect Hassad to Zamboecozone.
With food products we have in Region 9 and ARMM areas there is huge potential that there will be a programme or project with Hassad” said Baddiri.
“Our Halal industry is in infant stage and with Zamboecozone and investors like Hassad will fast-track progress and promotion of the Philippine halal industry” he added.
With the Asean Integration there is a need for the Philippines to catch up with countries such as Malaysia Thailand and Indonesia with regard to the halal market.
Being largely dependent on food imports Qatar is seen as a viable market for halal products from the Philippines.
Having recently launched Kulinarya Qatar an initiative to promote Philippine tourism via Filipino cuisine Santos believes having a robust halal industry can turn the Philippines into a destination of choice for tourists from Qatar and the rest of the GCC.
Baddiri said Lao had met Philippine Department of Tourism Secretary Ramon R Jimenez Jr who is keen to develop the Philippine halal industry with respect to tourism.
With regard to education, Lao said they wanted to harness partnerships by expanding the scholarship exchange programme to include other areas.
The delegation will meet Qatar Foundation officials on Monday and discuss endowments and scholarships.
“This is a good beginning and we will try to find out ways wherein the Philippines with NCMF and counterpart agencies and institutions like QU can work together and help each other in promoting shared interest” said Baddiri. (T/Imt/R03)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)