WITH the rising demand and sale of halal products because of the growing number of the Muslim population locally and globally, a lawmaker is seeking for the establishment of a government body that would address all the concerns of the halal industry.
Former Las Piñas City representative and now Sen. Cynthia Villar, in filing Senate Bill 312, wants to push for the creation of a Philippine Halal Accreditation and Regulatory Board (PHARB) that will be responsible for the formulation, drafting, management and implementation of programs relevant to manufacturing, production, distribution, preparation, handling, storage and verification of halal approved-food, non-food merchandise and services.
Villar, said she recognize the rich tradition and way of life of our Muslim brothers, and the “Philippine Halal Act,” will be the policy of the State to protect the interest of the people for clean, pure and healthy food.”
According to her, the government must ensure compliance with international standards of good manufacturing and hygienic practices by institutionalizing a halal system for food, non-food products and services due to its growing demand both in the local and international market.
Villar’s piece of legislation also intends to inform the people of the Muslim society’s basic culture which provides that their food or products or their ingredients must not contain any component of animals and carrion prohibited under Sharia’h Law, and the slaughter of animals should not counter the same law.
Meanwhile, Villar stated in her proposal that labeling of products certified halal or its equivalent should not be used in ways which could give rise to doubt about the safety of similar food or to claim that halal foods are nutritionally superior or healthier than other foods.
“Service establishments such as, but not limited to, hotels, restaurants, resorts and similar service facilities purposely established for and catering to the public, particularly Muslim patrons, and abattoirs, factories and similar establishments purposely producing halal goods shall conform to the Philippine National Standards for Halal . . .” the proposal reads.
The concept of halal, which means ‘permissible’ in Arabic, has been traditionally applied to food. But now, goods like cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, clothing and services are also being certified halal.
The global market for halal foods is estimated at $547 billion a year. The huge market has drawn interest from food producing countries worldwide.