COTABATO CITY, Philippines – The provincial government of Maguindanao is striving to become the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao’s “halal hub” that can supply “permissible” foods to Islamic communities in the country and abroad, officials said.
To do this, local officials are also trying to address security issues hounding the province, which has 36 towns, to hasten the areas’ conversion into a “food bowl,” where producers can raise food derived from livestock and crops they can market as “halal” products.
An Arabic term, halal, if use as description of food, means permissible. Its opposite is haraam, which literally means forbidden.
Mosib Guialel, Maguindanao’s provincial agriculturist, said a forum on halal issues was held in Buluan town Monday as part of Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu’s effort to promote halal industry in the province.
For Muslim clerics, halal is not only disallowing consumption of pork, or other haraam food products, but is also focused on healthy means of processing permissible food for human consumption.
Local officials, entrepreneurs, representatives of the ARMM’s agriculture and trade departments, and Islamic scholars from across the province, participated in the “Halal for Peace 2012 and Onwards” forum in Buluan.
Guialel said the forum was meant to generate public awareness about and support to the halal industry in the province.
ARMM’s foreign-trained halal expert, veterinarian Norodin Kuit, lectured about halal and non-halal animal slaughter process and the importance of sanitation in abattoirs and markets.
Guialel said Kuit, who is an ethnic Maguindanaon, also talked about how to prevent contamination of halal meat and market products.
Kuit said the ARMM’s agriculture department supports the halal initiatives of Mangudadatu’s office. -John Unson
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