Davao amends Halal ordinance

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 16 July) – The City Council of Davao will pass on third and final reading next week a resolution amending the existing “Halal Ordinance.”

City Councilor Mabel Sunga-Acosta underscored the need to update the five-year-old ordinance in order to advance and protect the rights, culture and lifestyle of the Muslims by “allowing them to rest easy knowing that they consume products which are halal not only in name, but more importantly in fact.”

In the proposed amendment, food establishments that offer Halal-processed food and beverages should secure a Halal certification from the National Commission for Muslim Filipinos (NCMF).

If passed into law, the Halal-accredited establishments will then be monitored by the City Health Office (CHO) to check if they adhere to the standards as provided for by the NCMF.

“The common misconception with regard to Halal is that it pertains to food products that have no pork or other forbidden ingredients. However, Halal is more than a word to describe food. It is a way of life, following the teachings of Islam to achieve a ‘holy’ or ‘blessed’ lifestyle. It goes beyond food and drink and is imbibed in everything they do,” she added.

At present, businesses secure their Halal accreditation from the Davao City Muslim Ulama Halal Certifying and Monitoring Agency.

However, the councilor said that NCMF provides a more standardized regulations in Halal-processing that apply to all establishments that offer food or non-food products and services.

“The NCFM is a national commission mandated under Article II of Republic Act No. 9997 to promote and develop the Philippine Halal Industry and accredit Halal-certifying entities/bodies. The change was in line with established national laws and provided for an umbrella organization which would accredit other agencies hoping to issue Halal certifications,” she pointed out.

Acosta added that the updated version will penalize establishments or even manufacturing companies if they are caught using Halal logo when they are not yet certified.

Halal Festival

Different local players joined in the 1st Halal Mindanao Festival, which opened July 15 until July 16, at the Abreeza of the Ayala Malls.

Various products – including food, apparel, fashion accessories, food-processing techniques, and other products and services that are Halal-certified – are showcased in the two-day festival.

The event was intended as a venue to promote and strengthen the Halal industry in Mindanao, as well as educate the public on Halal products and services.

Mallgoers will also learn about the initiatives and policies of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) on Halal food and other Halal-certified products.

Budding entrepreneurs will be provided with information on the new market opportunities.

While efforts to promote the industry are now being strengthened, Acosta said the industry lacks a Muslim workforce to step up the production capacity.

“The problem is, we don’t have food technologists who are Muslims,” she added while encouraging students to take up courses that are related to food technology in order to boost the industry workforce.