In a significant move aimed at boosting the halal industry in the Philippines, the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) has unveiled a comprehensive plan to establish agro-industrial hubs dedicated to halal products across the nation. This ambitious endeavor seeks to create economic opportunities while promoting the development of halal goods for both domestic consumption and international exportation.
As of the latest demographic data, Muslims constitute more than 6 percent of the Philippines’ nearly 110 million population, which is predominantly Catholic. The majority of Muslim Filipinos reside in specific regions, primarily on the island of Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago in the country’s south, as well as in the central-western province of Palawan. These areas have long been centers of Muslim culture and commerce in the Philippines.
The NCMF, the organization responsible for overseeing Muslim affairs in the Philippines, views the establishment of halal agro-industrial hubs as a strategic move to support Manila’s endeavors in expanding its presence within the global halal market. By fostering the production of halal-certified products, this initiative is expected to create a substantial number of jobs, benefiting a diverse cross-section of Filipinos, including Muslims and Christians alike. The potential for these hubs extends across the nation, including Luzon, the largest and most populous island in the Philippines.
The burgeoning growth of the halal industry in the Philippines is underpinned by the country’s abundant natural resources, strategic geographical location, and an expanding population. These factors position the Philippines as a promising contender in the global halal market, estimated to be worth more than $7 trillion. Recognizing this potential, the Philippine government has actively sought to promote halal-certified products both domestically and abroad.
Notably, the Philippines dispatched a special trade mission to member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council in February, aiming to bolster trade ties and promote the export of halal-certified food products from Southeast Asia. Subsequently, in May, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority announced its intention to support the domestic halal industry, recognizing the immense growth potential within regional and global markets.
The importance of the halal industry has also been highlighted at the highest levels of government. During his state visit to Malaysia in July, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. focused on the synergy between the Philippines and Malaysia in tapping into global market opportunities. This underscores the government’s commitment to capitalizing on the economic potential of the halal sector.
Furthermore, the NCMF’s proactive involvement in nurturing the Philippine halal industry aligns with its broader mission to address the needs of Filipino Muslim communities and contribute to national development goals. NCMF spokesperson Yusoph Mando emphasized their commitment to enhancing the capacities of Muslim Filipino communities through various development programs, activities, and projects. This vision, however, relies on the support and cooperation of Philippine legislators and public offices to become a reality. As the halal industry gains momentum in the Philippines, it promises to be a transformative force, driving economic growth and providing opportunities for a diverse range of Filipinos.