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Philippines: Halal industry is for non-Muslims too, says DAF-ARMM

11/2/11  www.pia.gov.ph        (PIA Press Release, Thursday, February 10, 2011)

By Rene V. Carbayas

ISABELA CITY, Basilan, Feb. 10 (PIA) — The potential of the Halal Industry in the Philippines is vast and varied according to official of the Muslim Mindanao Halal Certifying Board, Inc. (MMHCBI).

Dr. Norodin A. Kuit, MMHCBI Lead Halal Auditor said that halal industry is also beneficial to non-Muslims, stressing on the health benefits that one can get from halal certified products. “That’s beside the huge business prospects of the industry,” he added.

During the third Halal Consultation and Orientation workshop in Lamitan, Basilan today (February 10), Dr. Kuit, who is also Chief Livestock and Poultry Division of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (DAF-ARMM) is pushing for the importance of Halal Organic Farming and Production for the industry to really takeoff.

He noted that most of the halal products and ingredients are still coming from Malaysia since most local producers and businessmen are not yet fully aware of the economic and business viability of the halal industry.

Dr. Kuit said that poor awareness and acceptability of the halal concepts slow the institutionalization of the halal industry in the Philippines, “thus we are still in the advocacy stage,” although he said that there are signs that businesses are starting to realize the value of the halal industry in business and more importantly on health, whether one is a Muslim or non-Muslim.

“Halal is not Islamization as some sectors perceived,” Kuit stressed. Recognizing that there is indeed a religious connotation of the industry, Dr. Kuit also emphasized that businesses should also realize the growing population of Muslims in the world, which is a potential market for halal products.

Unfortunately, he said, the slow pace of the industry is also due to the behavior and attitudes of Muslim consumers themselves who do not look for or demand for halal certified products. This, he said, is attributed to poor awareness and factions in halal organizations and institutions.

“If there is demand from the ‘market’ (Muslim consumers), then halal industry will flourish,” he noted.

Provincial Veterinarian and Co-Chairman of the Basilan Halal Technical Working Group, Dr. Surhayda T. Aguisanda affirms that the industry is still on its advocacy stage hoping that the full support from the local government units will draw some concrete actions from political leaders.

She recalled that in earlier consultations with stakeholders, they were introduced to the halal concepts and industry. Those meetings also organized the composition of the Halal Technical Working Group (TWG) in Basilan and discussed the functions of the Mindanao Halal Certifying Board.

Dr. Aguisanda said the TWG has big plans in promoting the halal industry, but it can only do so much without the support of the local government units.

The third consultation workshop was attended by some 85 participants coming from the local government units (LGUs), academe, Ulamas and religious sector, the business sector, consumers, and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Halal literally means lawful or permissible according to Hukum Shariah or Islamic Law. These parameters have been designed for health, safety, and economic benefits of all mankind, regardless of race, faith or culture.

It encompasses all aspects of life from partaking food, non-food and all the way of life such as caring for the environment, humane treatment of animals, business transactions out of usury, etc. (PIA9-BST)

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