Halal board expected to start working in August

The HCB, it said, will be led by the ARMM Business Council and the Dar'ul Ifta, a council of senior religious leaders serving as final arbiter on matters relating to Islam, the LGSPA said in a statement.

The HCB is tasked to verify that what is declared halal is in accordance with Islamic rules of consuming only permissible food and non-food products as prescribed by the Holy Qur'an.

The Mindanao Business Council announced last week that around 15 tons of poultry products from Maguindanao are targeted as pilot shipment for halal export before the year ends. It will be shipped to the Middle East where there is a multi-billion poultry market.

The creation of the Halal board  is overdue and fundamental in Halal certification in the ARMM, where majority of the country's Muslims live,  the LGSPA quoted ARMM’s trade and industry secretary, Ishak Mastura.

The LGSPA teamed up with the ARMM's Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in the formation of the HCB in developing the board's guidelines and manual of operations.  

The crafting of the Halal guidelines and manual will involve consultations with the Dar'ul Ifta and provincial Mufti in the ARMM to ensure consensus that these are all in accord with Islamic injunctions.

On May 18 in Cotabato City, ten Muftis from the ARMM provinces of Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur signed a commitment to support the creation and operation of the board after studying the Koranic imperatives of halal certification and its organizational framework.

The ARMM is eyed by the Philippine government in its medium term development plan as center for the Halal industry. The region's development is expected to benefit from the international Halal food industry with estimated value of $80 billion per year. (Walter I. Balane /MindaNews)