Philippines: Commission on Muslim Filipinos supports DA’s Halal Initiatives

The National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF), an office created by law to replace the abolished Office on Muslim Affairs, expressed support on the initiatives of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in coming up with an internationally harmonized standard for halal agriculture and fishery products as well as the codes of practices for slaughterhouse for poultry and large ruminants, respectively.

During the third leg of a series of consultations conducted by the DA-Halal Food Industry Development Committee recently in Zamboanga City, Commissioner Jul Asri Aberin, who is also a mufti of Sulu said that their office acknowledged the efforts being undertaken by the DA.

Aberin said that under RA 9997 s. 2010, the NCMF is mandated to promote and develop the Philippine Halal industry and accredit halal certifying bodies for the benefit and welfare of Muslim Filipinos in partnership/cooperation with appropriate agencies, individuals and institutions here and abroad.

Some 60 Muslim scholars, Shariah lawyers, religious leaders or ulama and representatives of relevant government agencies in Western Mindanao attended the halal consultation conducted in Astoria Plaza in Zamboanga City.

Agriculture Secretary Alcala is pushing for the finalization of the draft standards for halal to enable the Philippines compete with other countries for the global halal industry estimated at US$1.3 trillion.

DA-HFIDC head, Sani Macabalang said that he is happy of the outcome of the consultation owing to the active participation of all stakeholders specially the mufti. In Islam, the mufti is the head of the Darul Ifta, which is a religious body that provides the final ruling on Islamic religious matters. Unlike, the Shariah Court that decides on legal issues, the Darul Ifta determines issues such as what is halal and haram, among others.

Meanwhile, NCMF Commissioner for Halal and Economic Affairs, Prof. Moner Bajunaid assured Macabalang that he will host a meeting within this month with all government agencies involved in the development of the halal industry.

“We need to fine-tune all aspects in the development of the halal industry. An internationally harmonized standard is just the first step towards providing the proper developmental perspective,” he said.

Bajunaid added that the meeting would aim to draft a set of criteria for the accreditation of halal certifiers; come up with a framework of cooperation and coordination among concerned government agencies; and to start the discussion on the draft of the implementing rules and regulations or IRR for the halal industry as mandated in RA 9997.

Datu Tahir Sinsuat Lidasan Jr., CESO III, Director, Office of the President, NCMF, will be a Panelist at the 6th World Halal Forum, 4-5 April 2011, Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.