Requirements for developing RP’s halal industry identified

Creation of a national brand for halal products and formation of a
single regulatory and certifying body are key to developing a halal
industry that is capable of penetrating the $200-billion foreign

Heads of at least six government line agencies in Central Mindanao made
this assertion on Tuesday, among them the departments of Science and
Technology, of Health, of Tourism and of Agriculture, as well as the
National Economic and Development Authority.

In a resolution, the officials said the development of a single
Philippine halal brand, including logo, is of primary importance in
promoting the credibility and maintaining quality standards of local
halal products in order to be competitive in the world halal market.

The officials also called on President Gloria M. Arroyo to form the
Philippine Halal Regulatory Board and the Philippine Halal Advisory

“We are urging the President to issue Executive Orders that will put
the development of the Philippine halal industry in its proper
perspective, whereby all stake-holders and key players in the industry
are expected to synergize and work together through complementation of
efforts,” said Zenaida P. Laidan, DoST-12 director and lead signatory
of the resolution.

She noted there is an urgent need for the government to establish such
measures, citing the proliferation of halal food-certifying bodies and
the use of halal logos that do not bear the name of issuing entities.
There are about 50 halal-certifying bodies now operating in the

Last January, a group of ulamas crafted the Philippine National
Standards on Halal in Zamboanga City, where they also formed the
Philippine Halal Accreditation Board.

Ms. Laidan said the national halal standard adopted in Zamboanga was
based on the guidelines developed by the Autonomous Region in Muslim
Mindanao, which uses only one of the components of Malaysian halal
standards and involved only the ulamas in its formulation.

Calling for a review of the ulamas-initiated national halal standards,
Ms. Laidan stressed the scientific and technical aspects must not be
neglected but they must go hand-in-hand with the religious aspect.

The accreditation board formed in Zamboanga prescribes appropriate
processing, preparing and handling of food ingredients in accordance to
Islamic laws and teaching.

Tourism Secretary Joseph H. Durano has vowed to promote it to help the
agency tap the global population of 1.9 billion Muslims as potential
tourists. He added that an awareness campaign on the national halal
guidelines would focus on restaurants, hotels, resorts, airlines, food
and beverage companies, and other tourism stakeholders across the

The regional Science and Technology department is building a
P50-million testing laboratory in this city, the regional seat of
government in Central Mindanao, aimed at ensuring products comply with
halal standards. — Romer S. Sarmiento, BusinessWorld