THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), as the lead agency in developing and promoting the Philippine halal industry, is set to implement initiatives toward the development of the country’s Halal exports highlighting its potential contribution in driving trade and investments in the country.

Speaking at the recent World Halal Assembly held in Manila last 18 and 19 January, DTI Trade and Investments Promotion Group Assistant Secretary Abdulgani M. Macatoman cited figures validating the need for the Philippines to get involved in halal export, import and production.

“Muslim population worldwide has been steadily growing at a 1.84 percent per annum. In 2016 Muslim population was at 2.14 billion, growing to 2.18 billion in 2017. At present, 32.43 percent of Asia’s current population of 1.4 billion is Muslim. In Africa, there are 635 million Muslims. World Muslim population translates to a $3.2- trillion halal industry worldwide. It is expected to increase to $10 trillion by 2030,” explained Assistant Secretary Macatoman.

He added, “the sheer size of underserved markets makes it easier to penetrate the industry. There are simply more people who need Halal products and services than there are existing businesses.”

At present, the Philippines only contributes five (5) percent of the global halal trade. With the new Philippine halal law in place, Assistant Secretary Macatoman explained that Filipino entrepreneurs are in the best position to take advantage of the rising halal industry worldwide. According to him, Filipino Muslims naturally understand what the global market wants and needs, being part of the market themselves.

“Filipino entrepreneurs like the ones based in Zamboanga are in a unique position to take advantage of this trend, particularly the efforts of the Zamboanga Ecozone and Freeport and Regional Economic Zone Authority of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao. Preparation of halal food and fashion pieces requires a great understanding and obedience to Muslim culture, and we Filipinos have a great grasp of this culture and unique practices,” said Assistant Secretary Macatoman.

Assistant Secretary Macatoman also emphasized the importance of having harmonious halal certification and accreditation policies and standards for the Philippines to improve its integrity and credibility both at the national and the international communities.

The DTI’s Philippine Accreditation Bureau (PAB)—as the sole agency mandated by the Philippine halal law to handle the accreditation of halal-certification bodies, inspection bodies and testing and calibration laboratories—is currently developing the national halal-certification scheme that will embody the official guidelines for the accreditation of all Philippine halal-certification bodies that wish to be accredited by the PAB.

Organized by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST)-Region 11, the World Halal Assembly was in line with the DOST’s mandate under Republic Act 10817, known as the Philippine Halal Export Development and Promotion Program Act of 2016, which took effect after its implementing rules and regulations were approved on July 26, 2017.♦