Philippines: Halal certifying body for Region 12 opened

Apr. 11, 2007

GENERAL SANTOS CITY Two local executives in Central Mindanao lauded the setting up of Mindanao Halal Authority (Minha), Inc. here Wednesday.

Mayor Pedro Acharon Jr. was optimistic the establishment of Halal certifying body in the city would further boost the local economy, particularly fishing industry and other firms involved in food processing.

“With MINHA around, I expect the market expansion of our tuna industry particularly in Middle East countries,” Acharon said.

Sarangani governor Miguel Dominguez pledged support in promoting halal industry in the province.

“I encourage local government-private sector partnerships in developing our halal industry,” Dominguez said.

Dominguez urged the local firms to apply for certification with Minha for them to access the huge global halal markets.

With the prevailing apathy of the national government in promoting halal trade in the country, Dominguez said “We cannot afford to continue waiting for the national government.”

National government’s inaction has delayed the issuance of national halal standards and the creation of the country’s accreditation agency, prompting stakeholders to seek recognition from international halal certifying bodies to gain credibility and competence.

Mohammad K. Ali Suib, chair of the Muslim Business Forum (MBF) here, said halal trade has been existing for years but the national government is not exerting serious efforts to further boost it.

“The irony is, despite having a large Muslim communities, the Philippines is not a major player in the halal trade,” Suib lamented.

Quoting an MBF report, Suib claimed that Thailand, a Buddhist-dominated country, posted an annual average of more than US$6 billion halal exports since 2001.

President Gloria Arroyo issued memorandum order 201 last December directing the Department of Trade and Industry, Agriculture, Science and Technology, Health, Tourism and the Office on Muslim Affairs to get their acts together and harmonize all halal export development programs of the national government.

Apparently, Suib said, this move was aimed at strengthening the country’s halal industry.

Suib , succeeded in getting international recognition for Minha from Halal Certification Authority of Australia, Halal Certification Authority International, Halal Certification Authority of Europe and Halal Certification Authority of the Pacific Islands.

MBF is a USAID-Gem assisted business support organization and a member of the small and medium enterprises development council of the city.

Minha, which share an office space with MBF here, would serve as halal certifying body for Central Mindanao.

Mohamed El-Mouelhy, chair of Halal Certification Authority of Australia, said the creation of Minha here opened up opportunities for local firms to access the 1.9 billion potential global halal markets estimated at US$ 150 billion world trade annually.

El-Mouelhy came over here as guest of honor and speaker during the Minha launching ceremony. (AZonio/PIA 12)

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