Philippines: Shari’ah must be included in Halal development law

By Ace June Rell S. Perez – SunStarDAVAO
THE Mindanao Islamic Chamber of Commerce Inc. (MICCI) raised concern to incorporate Shari’ah aspect to the Philippine Halal Export Development and Promotion Act of 2016.

Mindanao Islamic Chamber of Commerce Inc. (MICCI) Executive secretary and co-founder and Universal Islamic Center President Marilou Ampuan
Mindanao Islamic Chamber of Commerce Inc. (MICCI) Executive secretary and co-founder and Universal Islamic Center President Marilou Ampuan
Marilou Ampuan, one of the founders of MICCI and president of the Universal Islamic Center told reporters Tuesday, January 24, during the Davao Business Forum, at Dermpath in SM City-Ecoland, that religious significance in Halal industry is but necessary for the sector in Davao City to prosper and seize opportunities of a US$3 trillion-strong global industry value.
“The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), which chairs the Philippine Halal Export Development and Promotion, should address the Shari’ah aspect of Halal,” she said.
Halal, she explained, is a way of life and is divided in two aspects: technical and Shari’ah aspects. Shari’ah as defined is an Islamic divine law governing the Muslims.
Early last year, immediately after former President Benigno Aquino III inked the Republic Act 10817, the Muslim community led by the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos expressed dismay on the move underscoring the law has accorded very little meaningful consultations and inclusive legislative participation by the important stakeholders of the Halal industry.
“The act places too much emphasis in the trade and export aspects (technical) of Halal regulation without due regard to its religious significance to Muslim Filipinos,” Ampuan said earlier.
Recognizing this, DTI conducted an on-going nationwide series of consultation sessions involving Halal industry players to give comments and suggestion on how to materialize the act’s implementing rules and regulations before full implementation.
Ampuan said she already attended two consultations in General Santos City and Manila last year. The last consultation, she said, is expected to be staged within this year.
“By the end of all these consultations we are hoping and expecting that the Shari’ah aspect of the act will be included in order to have ‘check and balance.’ Halal is something that is holy, it is a way of life. It is impossible to divorce Halal from Islam its Shari’ah aspects of life, we should focus first on local Halal products before export,”
Ampuan said. Ampuan emphasized Halal is “evidently rooted in Islam” which she described as not only a religion but is “a way of life with protocols, rules and manners governing every facet of life.”
The act is “instituting the Philippine halal export development and promotion program, creating for the purpose the Philippine Halal export development and promotion board, and for other purposes.”
It also stipulates the mandatory certification on Halal products for exports, as distinguished from the products for distribution and sale in the domestic market.