By Noel Punzalan
COTABATO CITY – Construction is ongoing for the PHP47-million renovation and equipment upgrading of the Halal Verification Laboratory (HVL) inside the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) compound here.
An update released Monday by the Bangsamoro Information Office (BIO)-BARMM said the project is 70 to 80-percent complete.
“The renovation started earlier this year and will be finished by July 2021,” BOI-BARMM senior officer Albashir Saiden said.
In a statement, BARMM Minister Aida Silongan said the renovation intends to accommodate high-end equipment and state-of-the-art technology for Halal verification testing.
Once completed, the laboratory will consist of state-of-the-art equipment that will include the gas chromatography-mass spectrometry-FID (GC/MS/FID); gas chromatography triple quadruple mass spectrometry (GC/MS); liquid chromatography triple quadruple mass spectrometry (LC/MS); graphite furnace-atomic absorption spectroscopy (GF-AAS); and reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction apparatus.
The new pieces of equipment are capable of ethanol analysis, gelatin analysis, pesticide residue analysis, minerals in food, heavy metals in food and water, meat authenticity, and porcine DNA detection in meat-based products.
Silongan said the undertaking is being initiated under the Bangsamoro Standards and Halal Testing Laboratories Program.
“This project fulfills one of the MOST’s (Ministry of Science and Technology) mandates to strengthen the development of Halal industry through testing, analysis, and capacity building,” she said.
The BARMM’s HVL is one of the four Halal laboratories in the Philippines. The three other laboratories are located in Laguna (Department of Science and Technology (DOST-Calabarzon); Koronadal City (DOST-12); and Davao City (DOST-11).
All four laboratories are members of the DOST/MOST Halal verification laboratories network.
Republic Act 10817, also known as the Philippine Halal Export Development and Promotion Act of 2016, mandates the inclusion of the Halal program in the plans and programs of different government agencies that have jurisdiction and can contribute to the growth of export of Halal products, processes, and services. Philippine News Agency