Philippines: New pact inked for halal industry

12183986-philippines-flagTHE National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) and the Zamboanga City Special Economic Zone Authority (Zambo Ecozone) are eying to develop a 100-hectare property exclusively for the halal industry, officials said yesterday.

NCMF Secretary Yasmin Busran-Lao and Zambo Ecozone chair Lawrence Arnuco signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) recently to fortify their partnership to develop the country’s fledging halal industry.

Based on the MOA, NCMF shall declare ZamboEcozone as the “centre of halal industry in the Philippines” while the latter shall appropriate a fully integrated and contained 100-hectare zone exclusively for halal processing and manufacturing companies.

The Zambo Ecozone is classified as a free port located in Western Mindanao.

“The Zambo Ecozone is honoured to have the NCMF as one of our partners in fulfilling our objective as an economic hub in Zamboanga City, which [shall] generate local economic activities that would serve as a springboard for the promotion of trade, investments, and ecology tourism not only within the city but throughout the region,” Arnuco said.

He said the Zambo Ecozone has reserved the vast property for halal industry players because they want Zamboanga City, as well as the country, to benefit from the billion-dollar global halal industry.

Lao placed the value of the global halal industry at US$347 billion, which she described as a lucrative market that carries huge opportunities for Filipinos.

Late last year, NCMF officials visited the Zambo Ecozone to see its potentials as a halal hub.

Among the mandates of the NCMF is to promote and develop the halal industry in the country.

In signing the MOA, the NCMF and the Zambo Ecozone seek to establish a thriving halal industry in the Philippines, a majority Catholic country with a minority Muslim population concentrated in Mindanao.

Before the MOA was signed, officials from both sides separately discussed the measure.

For the NCMF, it was examined and approved by Busran-Lao and Commissioners Mehol Sadain, Edilwasif Baddiri, Esmael Ebrahim, and Salem Demuna.

For the Zambo Ecozone, the MOA was approved by its Board of Directors headed by chair Arnuco, vice chair Rafael G Evangelista Jr; Zamboanga City Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco, director representing the City of Zamboanga; Congressman Celso Lobregat, director representing the First Legislative District of Zamboanga City; City Councilor Benjamin Guingona IV, director representing the City Council of Zamboanga City; Edgar Lim, director representing the local investors of Zamboanga City; and Jose Suan, director representing the labor sector.

Arnuco lauded the NCMF for taking the lead in the promotion and development of the halal Industry in the Philippines.

He assured the NCMF that “the Zambo Ecozone shall extend its unwavering and continuing support to the NCMF programmes on halal promotion and awareness.”

Halal pertains to food and non-food products permissible in Islam.

The Brunei Times