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BARMM strengthens efforts to establish more ecozones, Halal hubs

MARAWI CITY—The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) Economic Zone Authority (BEZA) is intensifying efforts to create additional economic zones in the region, particularly focusing on Halal hubs.

BEZA Executive Director Lawyer Sukarno Abas emphasized during the Halal Hub Development Training for Accelerated Economic and Ecozone Development on January 9, that ensuring the food sector is well-equipped with standardized knowledge and skills in the Halal industry is a key strategy to position BARMM as the country's Halal hub, thus accelerating economic growth.

"We are challenged to expand economic prospects in industry and services by transforming our economic zone into a vibrant environment for the economic hub of the region," said Abas.

Various Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), entrepreneurs, academe, and other stakeholders participated in the training activity.

A Halal Hub, anticipated to impact the economic growth of the region significantly, is one of the economic zones to be established in the region.

BARMM's strategic location along with the Brunei Darussalam–Indonesia–Malaysia– Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) trade corridor and its proximity to major cities in Mindanao underline its crucial position in the country's Halal industry.

In July last year, the Philippines and Malaysia agreed to collaborate on developing BARMM and promoting the trillion-dollar industry, emphasizing progress through bilateral efforts in the area of Halal industry.

“This will help create more job opportunities, raise incomes and productivity, and enhance the standard of living for the Bangsamoro people,” Abas added.

He further mentioned that this initiative will provide a strong direction for the Bangsamoro Government’s effort to develop an effective and responsive plan that will shape the region's economic landscape and meet the needs of the Bangsamoro people

Bangsamoro Economic Zone Authority (BEZA) Executive Director Atty. Sukarno Abas delivered his opening remarks during the Halal Hub Development Training for Accelerated Economic and Ecozone Development held in Cotabato City, January 9. (Photo Courtesy: Bangsamoro Information Office)

Meanwhile, participants of the activity also gained insights into the concepts of halal and haram in the food industry and the export of halal products in Malaysia, as presented by Haji Wan Johari Wan Daud, a consultant at JNJ Philippines Halal Center.

One of the participants, Jonita Yusoph, Human Resources Officer of Pagana Kutawato, said this action will create more opportunities and expand their knowledge in providing quality services to Cotabateños, local and foreign customers.

Yusoph also mentioned that the demand for halal foods is not limited to Muslims but extends to non-Muslim consumers, especially given the increasing awareness about health benefits.

She highlighted that Pagana Kutawato regularly conducts assessments and monitors food suppliers to ensure that purchased food is Halal certified.

The event was organized in collaboration with the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) and JNJ Philippines Halal Center. (BIO/PIA-10 Lanao del Sur)

Participants of the Halal Hub Development Training for Accelerated Economic and Ecozone Development, consisting of some local entrepreneurs and other stakeholders, learned the concepts of halal and haram in the food industry. (Photo Courtesy: Bangsamoro Information Office)

About the Author

Apipa Bagumbaran

Assistant Regional Head

Region 10

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