Philippines: OIC panel’s halal consent for Mindanao agency

A GOVERNMENT-OWNED laboratory in Central Mindanao specialising in halal testing has acquired a clearance from an affiliate institution of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to adopt its global halal standards.

smiic_logoThe OIC’s Standards and Metrology Institute for Islamic Countries (SMIIC), which is based in Turkey, permitted the Department of Science and Technology-Region 12 (DOST-12) to adopt the former’s unified halal standards, DOST-12 Regional Director Zenaida Hadji Raof Laidan said.

SMIIC is a mechanism under the 57-member OIC established to harmonise standards, including the halal industry, for the pan-Islamic body.

“The OIC’s stringent requirement for the adoption of one global halal standard, one global certification and one recognised accreditation scheme for products and services is currently considered as the global highest reference point for halal,” Laidan said recently in a statement.

She noted that the Philippines is the first non-OIC member country to be allowed by the SMIIC to adopt its halal standards.

Halal refers to food and non-food items permissible for consumption or use under Islamic law. Its opposite is haram.

Laidan said the global halal industry, which she estimated to be valued at US$2.3 trillion, offers huge opportunities for both Muslim and non-Muslim Filipinos entrepreneurs.

“It is imperative for our country to adopt and strictly adhere to OIC-SMIIC’s unified global halal standards,” said Laidan, who has repeated cited the prospects offered by the Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines-East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) for Filipino halal producers. Laidan said the DOST-12, which has been advocating the development of halal industry in the Philippines since 2008, has developed its halal logo to certify those products that passed its testing.

She noted that the agency hopes to help make Mindanao the “halal hub of the Philippines” with Region 12 as the halal production centre and gateway to BIMP-EAGA and the rest of the world.

The DOST-12 halal logo could enhance the manufacturers’ chances of penetrating domestic and foreign markets, as this certifies that they passed rigorous halal testing by our laboratory, Laidan said.

She noted that both local and foreign consumers of halal products look for proper information and genuine labels to ensure that what they are buying are credible halal items.

“The logo is our immediate response to address issues on product label ambiguities and our preliminary adherence to ‘One Standard, One Logo, and One Test” rule for worldwide acceptance of halal products,’ Laidan said.

The DOST-12 operates a halal testing laboratory in Cotabato City, and has started building a bigger state-of-the-art laboratory that shall be called the Philippine National Halal Laboratory and Science Center in Koronadal City, the seat of government of Region 12 or Soccsksargen region.

It launched the Philippine Science and Technology Programme for the Development of the Halal Industry in 2008 to advance the agenda.

The Brunei Times