GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/25 August) — The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in Region 12 is pushing for the full completion by next year of the Philippine National Halal Laboratory complex in nearby Koronadal City.
Sammy Malawan, DOST Region 12 assistant director, said the development of the laboratory building has already been completed and they are currently working on the requirements for its operationalization.
He said they have proposed for an additional funding of around P45 million for 2016 to finish the project’s remaining components.
For this year, he said the project only received a budget of P4.5 million out of the P14.36 million that they proposed.
“We’re expecting it to be fully completed next year, provided all the required funds will be released on time,” Malawan said.
The four-storey halal laboratory building is part of the planned P255.5-million Philippine National Halal Laboratory and Halal Science Center, which is being developed by the DOST in a one-hectare lot in Barangay Paraiso in Koronadal City.
The DOST-12 started the phased development of the laboratory in 2009 through private firm Marble Construction at a projected cost of P75 million.
But Malawan said the inflation over the years rendered the original cost estimate inadequate, resulting to a bigger funding requirement.
A report from the Regional Development Council (RDC) of Region 12 showed that the project received an initial funding of P15 million in 2008, followed by an additional P10 million in 2009, P10 million in 2010, P2.5 million in 2011, P13 million in 2012 and P10 million in 2013.
The council endorsed a budget of P37.5 million for its development works in 2014.
Malawan said the development of the project was set in seven phases, with the first five involving the structural component.
He said phases I to V have been fully completed while phase VI or the architectural component is almost complete.
“Phase VII or other related activities is presently ongoing,” he said.
The RDC-12 had endorsed the halal laboratory as one of the region’s priority infrastructure and socioeconomic projects.
It was listed as among the top “Kilos Abante” programs and projects under the Competitive Industry and Services Sector of the updated Region 12 or Soccsksargen Regional Development Plan for 2014 to 2016.
The RDC’s regional project monitoring committee visited the building recently and witnessed the masonry and finishing works as well as the installation of travertine stone or its steel frames.
The installation of travertine stone is part of the approved program of work under the project’s Phase VII.
Dr. Zenaida Hadji Raof Laidan, DOST-12 regional director, said the laboratory will be used to train food manufacturers and build a pool of halal certifiers in the country.
She said it will enable the country to immediately start certifying food manufacturers, especially the large, small and medium enterprises that want to tap the growing global halal market.
Halal is Arabic for “permissible” but is also largely referring to food that is allowed for consumption among Muslims.
Presently, the global halal market comprises 112 countries with an estimated population of 1.8 billion. (MindaNews)