On November 6, 2017, hundreds of people gathered in Dusit Thani’s Onyx Ballroom including government officials of both the Philippines and the United Arab Emirates Government, business tycoons and other private stakeholders to witness the launching of Philippine Halal. The Philippine Delegation was headed by the Undersecretary for Special Concerns and Chairperson of the Department of Agriculture-Halal Food Industry Development Executive Committee (DA-HFIDEC) Atty. Ranibai D. Dilangalen joined by the Chief-of-Staff for the Secretary, Undersecretary Atty. Francisco M. Villano, Agriculture Attaché Gil B. Herico, International Agriculture Division Chief Dr. Maria Escandor. The event was hosted by Agriculture Attache Gil B. Herico under the blessings of Philippine Ambassador to the UAE Constancio R. Vingo, Jr. and his spouse Madame Yoko C. Ramos-Vingo.

The activity aimed to formally introduce the intention of the Philippines to enter into the Halal industry in the Gulf countries in terms of agriculture. President Rodrigo R. Duterte and the Secretary of Agriculture Emmanuel Piñol both gave their message prior to departure of the delegation in support of the event and the Halal industry. The message was posted in the event’s Coffeebook and was displayed in the venue itself.

The event kicked off with the message of Atty. Dilangalen who explained the set-up and status of Halal in the Philippines, followed by a message of the Guest of Honor and a showcase of Filipino cuisine. The event accomplished more than its set objectives and purpose as the UAE Officials intimated their sincere support of the Philippine Halal Industry as well as for the Philippine Agriculture.  The delegation invited, as Guest of Honor, the Director General of Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology (ESMA) H.E. Abdullah Abdulqari Al Ameeni, which is the counterpart agency who is responsible for the accreditation of Halal Certifying Bodies. Director General H.E. Abdullah personally instructed his staff to fast track the processing of the Philippines’ application for Halal accreditation with his Agency.

Also present in the event were the Secretary of Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Datu Abul Khayr Dangcal Alonto, representatives of the Philippine’s Department of Trade and Industry, UAE representatives of their officials and Ambassadors to the UAE of Vietnam, Indonesia, Serbia, Malaysia.

During the mission, the delegation also conducted a bilateral meeting with UAE Director of Animal Health and Development Department, under the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOOCE), H.E. Dr. Majid Sultan Al Qassimi – the Agency counterpart of the Department of Agriculture. During the meeting they gave their overwhelming support and interest in the subject of Philippine Agriculture. They showed great interest in pursuing the pending Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Philippines Department of Agriculture and UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOOCE-Equivalent of Department of Agriculture in UAE). Upon asking the venue of MOU signing, Director H.E. Majid excitedly answered that the signing should be held in the Philippines. Usec. Dilangalen further suggested that the signing and approval should be conducted in Mindanao, Davao City in the place of President in the Philippines,

 

The UAE has shown great interest in investing in Aquaculture (Fish, Tuna, Groper, and the like) considering the limited resources of their marine products, vegetables and fruits and that they source 85% of their agriculture products thru importation from various countries. They also expressed interest in livestock since the Philippines is an agricultural country. They expressed interest to go to the Philippines in the early part of 2018 for this exploration of investments.