Dr. Hadja Sittie Shayma Zenaida Pangarungan Hadji Raof-Laidan is no ordinary lady in the southern part of our archipelago. Her vast learning experiences and towering accomplishments and achievements bespeak of an extraordinary career path worthy of emulation.

Dr. Laidan is a compleat academician having been a product of prestigious learning institutions and universities. A graduate of Bachelor of Science in Inland Fisheries from Mindanao State University (MSU) in Marawi City, her passion for higher academic learning earned her two postgraduate degrees under full scholarship grants. As a National Science Development Board Scholar (now DOST), Dr. Laidan earned her Master of Arts degree in Teaching General Science at her alma mater in 1982. In 1994, another feather in her cap was added when she finished her Doctor of Philosophy degree in Science Education major in Biology at the De la Salle University, Manila, Philippines. She was conferred Doctor of Philosophy in Institutional Development and Management (HONORIS CAUSA) in 2008 by the Sultan Kudarat State University and Akamai University, Hawaii.

Her academic achievements have been Zeny’s (as her colleagues call her) ticket to the academic world. For twenty-two years, she had been teaching Chemistry, Biology and General Science as Associate Professor V at the Mindanao State University- University Training Center. She was also the President of the Muslim Development Exponents Foundation of the Philippines, Inc. and the Board Director of the then Muslim Educators League of the Philippines, Inc. in Marawi City. In 1991, she was also appointed Action Officer on Science and Technology in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Dr. Laidan is the first woman Regional Director of the Department of Science and Technology Regional Office XII (DOST XII). Since her assumption to said position in 1999, she has been making a difference in the lives of the people she served and in the community at large. She has been noted for her records of personal integrity and exemplary public services in pursuit of the vision, mission, and goals of the government.

As Regional Director, Dr. Laidan is responsible for the implementation of the national agenda of the department in the promotion of Science and Technology. She supervises the concrete implementation of programs geared towards the establishment of a competent and competitive S&T community with social conscience in Region XII. She has been aggressively implementing the agency’s banner program, the Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP), as well as rolling-out of new and emerging technology solutions in the countryside particularly in Region 12 and Autonomous Region in Mindanao (ARMM) under the Technology Institutional Support Program (TISP), High Impact Program on Halal Science, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and community-based projects.

To date, Dr. Laidan has helped thousands of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) under various sectors including food processing, marine/aquaculture, horticulture, metals and engineering, GDH and furniture with crucial interventions along the following areas: new/advanced technology infusion, assistance for technology acquisition, manpower training and technical assistance, design of appropriate packages and labels, establishment of product standards including product testing and database information system thru provision of technology in the form of equipment, conduct of technology needs assessment, technology trainings/ seminars/ workshops, local consultancy, energy audit, food safety, among others.

Dr. Laidan also crafted programs which specifically cater to the very resources and heritage under her jurisdiction. Among the special projects her leadership pursued successfully, despite the extraneous factors affecting their implementation were: the S&T Program for Mindanao; the establishment of Virtual Center in Technology Innovation in Information Technology (VCTI-IT) which aims to encourage and facilitate the academe and private sector S&T activities in the promotion and development of globally competitive industries; establishment of Tissue Culture Laboratories and development of clonal nurseries for high value fruit crops and ornamental plants; upgrading of the brass furniture making industry; Solid Waste Management Program; initiated the establishment of Regional Food Processing Center in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat; Metrology Program for products standardization, higher quality and competitiveness of local products; S&T Program for the Poor, Vulnerable and Disabled; Information System Development and Databanking for the Food Industry and Marine/Fishery Industry; Promotion and Application of Information and Communications Technology (ICT); and a lot more. 

Bridging the government to other stakeholders in national development has been the primary task of Dr. Laidan as DOST XII Regional Director. And this she was able to achieve through the various projects and programs she hatched with the local government units, non-governmental organizations, the academe and private sector / investors. By ensuring the smooth transfer of modern and appropriate technologies to important sectors in the agri-fishery industry of the region, new alliances and programs were operationalized. Several food and fruit processing centers have also been established in the region. For one, the loom-weaving industry in ARMM, Cotabato City and Marawi City received needed funding support. 

It was thru the initiative of Dr. Laidan that the Philippines Science High School Campus in the SOCCSKSARGEN region was established in year 2012. Thru the strong support of her local networks and linkages, the PSHS-SRC was opened to scholars on the same year.

She is also a Regent/ Trustee of the Governing Board of the following State Universities and Colleges in Region XII: University of Southern Mindanao (USM); Sultan Kudarat State University (SKSU); Cotabato City State Polytechnic College (CCSPC); Cotabato Foundation College of Science and Technology (CFCST); and Adiong Memorial Polytechnic State College (AMPSC). She is also a Trustee of the Environmental Protection and Conservation Center (ECPC), Sarangani Province.

Concurrently, she chairs six (6) consortia in South Central Mindanao namely, the Regional Information Technology and Electronic Commerce Committee (RITECC XII), Cotabato Region Industry and Energy Research and Development Consortium (CRIERDC), Region XII Analytical Laboratories Consortium (LABCON XII), Region XII Health Research and Development Consortium (HRDC XII), Region XII Nutrition and Communications Network (NUTRICOMNET XII), and Halal S&T Consortium.

A devout Muslim who holds executive position in the country’s premier agency for science and technology, Dr. Laidan actively advocates Halal Science, making her one of the prime movers of Halal Industry development in the country. She crafted, authored and currently implements the “Philippine Science and Technology Program for the Development of the Halal Industry”, the flagship program of DOST. She is the Chairperson of the National Halal Forum-Philippines, the leading country-wide Halal event with global trend, which progressed to Philippine Halal Assembly, and now World Halal Assembly Philippines. She is also the Founder and Administrator of the Halal Laboratory in Cotabato City which is in operation since 2010 as well newly inaugurated Philippine Halal Science Center and National Halal Laboratory in Koronadal City, which will serve as the clearing house of all Halal products coming in and out of the country. It will serve as a one-stop shop center which will provide laboratory services needed by MSMEs and multi-national companies engaged in Halal business pertaining to Halal standardization of products, Halal testing and analyses/ forensics as well as carry-out Halal R&D for commercialization to consequently develop Halal premium brand and new technologies for
new products compliant to both Shariah and Science.

She had been invited as Commencement Speaker by major universities and academic institutions and has addressed audiences locally and internationally. To mention some, she was invited as Honorary Speaker given the topic, “Application of Halal Science and Technology for Halal Accreditation and Certification – Country’s Experiences” during the World of Halal Science, Industry and Business (WHASIB) International Conference in conjunction with the Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand – Group Triangle in Phuket, Thailand on June 18-20, 2010. During the World Halal Forum 2008 in Malaysia on May 12-13, Dr. Laidan significantly contributed in putting the country on the Halal map when she presented upon invitation as Guest Speaker the “Philippine Science and Technology Program for the Development of the Halal Industry: A National Approach to the Global Halal Market”. She was also invited as Guest Speaker on “The Halal Industry in a Non-Muslim Country: Philippine Experience” during the 2nd International Conference and Expo on Halal Industry at Lahore, Pakistan on January 16-17, 2012; as Speaker on “Mainstreaming Halal Science in the Production Value Chain thru Community-based Partnerships” during the Saudi Food Forum in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on December 9-10, 2013; as Speaker on the topic “Issues and Concerns on Halal Certification” during the Japan Halal Summit 2014 in Tokyo, Japan on August 4-6, 2014; as Speaker/ Discussant for the topic “Ways of Developing Korea Halal Certification System” and for the seminar on “Unified Halal Standardization and its Prospect” during the Halal Korea Expo 2015 on August 7-9, 2015 at COEX, Seoul, Korea; and as Guest Speaker on the topic “Bridging Gaps in Testing of Halal Food” during the World Halal Summit Istanbul 2016 in Turkey. She was also invited as Guest Speaker on the topic “Eco-Halal: A Growing Trend” , and Session Chair of the 8th Session on Processing Requirement in Halal Production during the World Halal Convention East Europe 2017 at Poznan, Poland on September 25-26, 2017; as Guest Speaker on the same topic during the World Halal Summit 2017 at Lutfi Kirdar International Convention Centre, Istanbul, Turkey on November 24-25, 2017; as Guest Speaker on the topic “Halal S&T for Smart World”during the Halal International Conference 2017, and Expert Panelist during the Halal Certification Bodies’ Convention of the Thailand Halal Assembly at the Bangkok International Trade and Expo Center (BITEC) Bang Na, Thailand on November 30-December 4, 2017; and as Guest Speaker on the topic “Transcending Frontiers of Halal Science Towards Building Inclusive Islamic Communities” , and as Expert Panelist on the “Moving Ahead/ Way Forward for Iran Halal Industry" during the Iran Halal Conference 2017 in Mashad, Iran on December 15-17, 2017. Last year, Dr. Laidan was invited as Speaker on the topic “Moving Towards Global Halal Standards”during the World Halal Assembly Oman 2018 to be held on 8-9 May 2018 at Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre; and during the Thailand Halal Assembly 2018 on December 15-16, 2018.

She also initiated/conducted major advocacy and policy development activities in the country including the National Halal Fora in years 2008, 2009 and 2013 in Manila, The Royal Forum on Halal Science in the Islamic City of Marawi, Lanao Del Sur in 2014. Dr. Laidan also led a team of fourteen (14) DOST officials including a representative from DOST-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to a Benchmarking Activity/Study Mission on Strengthening Philippine Halal Industry: Exploring Halal In Malaysia in 2014.

She also conducted the Philippine Halal Assembly International Conference and Expo 2015 at Marriott Manila Grand Ballroom where the Standards and Metrology Institute for Islamic Countries of the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC-SMIIC) granted DOST XII, the only entity in the country, permission to adopt, implement and ensure compliance to their Standards on Halal, noting SMIIC’s statement as follows: “SMIIC encourages DOST XII with its expertise and capabilities to adopt, implement and assure compliance to SMIIC Unified Global Halal Standards through the leadership of Dr. Zenaida P. Hadji Raof Laidan being a devout Muslim in the Ministry of Science and Technology.” Dr. Laidan then conducted the World Halal Assembly Philippines 2018 at Sofitel Philippine Plaza, and the World Halal Assembly 2019 at EDSA Shangri-La Manila.

Dr. Laidan even extended DOST XII assistance to those who are greatly affected by either natural or man-made calamities not limited to borders of the region. She personally led a team to Tacloban City to deliver immediate assistance such as relief goods five days after it was hit by Super Typhoon Yolanda in 2013. She also initiated provision of assistance to the victims of the 6.9-magnitude earthquake in Wao, Lanao Del Sur in 2017. A victim herself, Dr. Laidan chose to care first for all those who have been devastated during the Marawi Seige which unfortunately happened in the same year. In coordination with the proper authorities, she provided immediate relief assistance such as food and water to the individually displaced households, sent a team to conduct post-conflict needs assessment, and rolled-out the Mobile Halal Technology Clinic to help the victims. Since then, Dr. Laidan has been implementing the program entitled “DOST XII Support for Marawi City Recovery, Reconstruction and Rehabilitation thru Science and Technology Intervention, and Innovation” which provided S&T interventions, and innovations such as appropriate technologies responsive to the needs of the target beneficiaries, and conduct of trainor's training, and technology-based livelihood trainings infused with value formation establishing a Halal culture embracing Science, Technology, and Innovation.

Despite her very hectic schedules, Dr. Laidan still finds time for significant community work which would not require the influence of her government position. Despite the various trainings, fora, and speaking engagements that her work entails, she also devotes part of her precious time as President of the Muslim Mindanao Development Exponents Foundation of the Philippines, an institution which conducts non-formal education to Maranao women.

A descendant of the Royal Houses of Lanao, she is the daughter of the late Rajah Pangadapun Sumandar, the Rajah Pangadapunsa Ganasi, heir of the throne of Sultan sa Tugaya and Sultan sa Ramain and a former mayor of Tugaya, Lanao del Sur to Hadja Sittie Aishah Hadji Raof Sumandar, Baiya-Diamla sa Tugaya.

Her Exceptional Achievement

What makes Dr. Laidan shine among others?

For people who know Dr. Laidan by heart, this is a question worth answering but not worth
asking. For them, the answer is right in front of everyone’s face.

Dr. Laidan is a perfect example of an educator. From her work, springs a fountain of learning. She possesses knowledge which she eagerly shares with others.

During her first few years as university professor, Dr. Laidan has already shown the potentials of an excellent leader. She has the passion to help those who are not privileged but are willing to help themselves. By establishing the Science Learning Center in 1996 at Marawi City to help pre-schoolers develop their full potentials, Dr. Laidan started to immerse herself in the struggle for nation-building.

Her arduous advocacy to educate her fellow Maranaos, especially the women, led her establish the Muslim Development Exponents Foundation of the Philippines, Inc. Maranao women at the grassroots level were given non-formal education through the Foundation’s Basic Literacy Project funded by well-to-do individuals and groups. Educational assistance is also being extended to those who deserve to enhance their intellectual and personal growth.

Dr. Laidan’s appointment as DOST Region XII Director served as a challenge for her to help more people. Through her office, Dr. Laidan became a prime-mover of development in Mindanao and the country at large. With the implementation of her office’s various projects that have direct impact on the livelihood of her fellow Maranaos and the rest of the people under her jurisdiction, Dr. Laidan’s work has become a fulfillment for her passion as a catalyst of development.

Before, she was just concerned with particular needs of particular sectors. But now her focus covers a whole gamut of special needs. She has now become the bridge among various stakeholders in nation-building. Her association with the academe, with non-government organizations, and with the private sector clothed her with the advantages required in pursuing a holistic approach for development.

By stepping up the implementation of various DOST programs and projects in Region XII, more income has been generated and more jobs created in the area. Among the successful projects undertaken by Dr. Laidan’s office include the establishment of food and fruit processing centers, mushroom-spawn culture, solid waste management, metrology and product standardization program, provision of microbiological, chemical and physical analysis of liquid (e.g water, etc.) and solid samples, provision of trainings and consultancy services, as well as setting up of an internet service provider.

All these programs and projects became successful because they are meant to be so. But what made them truly a success is their proper implementation by the competent person who does not give room for any personal interest to rise above the interests of the nation. A project is only as good as its implementer. This is the adage to which Dr. Laidan lives by. And the people can
attest to this.

She became a recipient of numerous awards in recognition of her distinctive contributions for rural community development and in various socio-technological programs in Mindanao. Dr. Laidan was recognized and honored during the Kamindanawan 2011 as one of the Outstanding Top Women Mindanao Achievers for “breaking new ground” thru Science, Technology, and Innovation, particularly for being a champion of Halal Science in the Philippines.

Moreover, Dr. Laidan was crowned/ enthroned on May 15, 2014 as BAI-A-ZEYBAALEEM SA MASIU, a royal title among Bangsamoro women with an equivalent rank of a Sultan in the Royal Sultanate of Lanao in Mindanao, Philippines.

Dr. Laidan travelled widely in different capitals of the world such as in Europe, Australia, Germany, Netherlands, Japan, Turkey, Pakistan, Korea, Middle East, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, and other ASEAN countries to mention a few. With the application of best practices she learned from these countries and adopting innovative approaches and strategies in the honest to goodness implementation of DOST Programs, Projects, and Activities, she has been making a difference in the lives of the people she is serving.

In 2018, she successfully facilitated the completion of the construction of the Philippine National Halal Laboratory Building in Koronadal City which commenced in 2008. It was thru her untiring efforts that the facility was finally inaugurated on February 25, 2019. 

Dr. Laidan’s circumstances in life are the secrets to her success. Her being a Maranao made her realize the plight of her race. Her being a professor taught her to share knowledge. And her being a woman made her assert her convictions and vision.

Articles Published

A licensed fishery biologist and prolific researcher, Dr. Laidan’s studies have been published and discussed in a number of international publications and academic, science and technology conferences. To mention a few, her article, “Status of Bachelor of Science for Secondary Programs Major in Biology Offered by Selected Institutions in the National Capital Region” was published in Asia Life Sciences (The International Journal of Life Sciences) Volume 4, No. 2, July-December 1995. Another article, “Some Effects of Water Hyacinths (Eichorniacrassipes, Linn.) on Some Physico-Chemical Parameters of Lake Lanao” was published in BIOTA Journal in February 1996 issue.


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