Senator Cynthia Villar, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, on Sunday urged Filipinos to support locally made halal products as she greeted Filipino Muslims here and abroad as the world marks the start of the Holy Month of Ramadan.
Halal food producers in the Philippines are well-positioned to gain a foothold in the thriving global halal market, which is valued at $2.3-trillion, Villar said.
There are an estimated two billion Muslim consumers abroad and there is a growing demand for halal products among non-Muslims, Villar said.
Speaking at the launch of the first Ramadan International Bazaar to run for 38 days at the Bonifacio Global City, Villar said her committee is hastening the passage of halal-related bills, particularly on ‘Philippine Halal Policies and Regulation’.
Villar conducted a public hearing in General Santos in April. The committee’s technical working group also held series of meetings last week at the Senate.
“I am giving my full support to halal food and non-food producers in the country. My committee in the Senate will continue our work to help enhance their competitive edge and we can maximize the huge opportunities in the global halal market,” said Villar.
The neophyte senator authored Senate Bill No. 312, or the proposed ‘Philippine Halal Act’ that seeks the establishment of a Philippine Halal Accreditation and Regulatory Board.
It 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.
“We have halal certifying bodies but there are still prevailing issues that we need to address. We still don’t have a common set of national halal guidelines that would govern the certification process. So there is a need to create a Philippine Halal Accreditation and Regulatory Board,” she said.
Originally published on http://manilastandardtoday.com/