HALAL: A FOCUS AREA ON PH ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. Aside from gaining understanding on Halal products, concerned bureaus and offices of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), several government agencies and non-government organizations had substantial discussions on the potential of Halal products as an area of growth for the Philippine economy in an inter-agency seminar on Halal fundamentals in Ortigas on 20 April. At the policy level, DTI Secretary and Halal Export Development and Promotion Board (HEDPB) Ramon Lopez assured National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) Commissioner Analiza Flores-Malayang and the Halal Board Members that Muslim leaders are always welcome in the HEDPB to better execute Halal development policies and initiatives, as well as ensure the voice and interests of Filipino Muslims. NCMF said that the Halal industry can also help the government in its poverty alleviation strategy by involving Filipino farmers in the Halal products production, thus promoting countryside development. The country’s Halal industry currently has 1.3% share of the USD2.6 trillion-worth Halal market worldwide. Commissioner Malayang added that establishing Halal warehouses, dressing plans, freezing areas, transportation mechanisms and other facilities is an area of exploration for investors. A serious and sensitive matter, Halal must be understood both by the consumers and the producers, according to NCMF. Visiting Professor Ustadh. Esmael Ebrahim also lectured on the dynamics of halal in the Philippines. DTI takes similar initiatives to convene dialogues to promote the country’s Halal sector.