Author Archives: Jun Macarambon

Halal ingredients market hits $245b

The halal food sector alone will grow to a valuation of $2.537 trillion by 2019, up from $795 billion in 2014, equating to 21.2 per cent of global food expenditure.

OIC imports of halal ingredients reached $33 billion in 2015.

The global market for halal ingredients across food, pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries is estimated to be at $245 billion.

According to Thomson Reuters, Organisation of Islamic Countries’ (OIC) imports of halal ingredients reached $33 billion in 2015.

In a report on the halal ingredients across the global food, pharmaceutical, and cosmetics industries, issued in partnership with Salaam Gateway and DinarStandard, Thomson Reuters identified more than 300 halal ingredients that are manufactured globally and consumed by high-growth halal/Muslim customer segment.

The report features ingredients that are most effected by halal compliance processes, such as gelatin, pepsin (used commonly in cheese), and carmine (food colouring).

Mustafa Adil, Head of Islamic Finance, Thomson Reuters, said the topic of halal ingredients is an important one given that sourcing these ingredients continues to be a key challenge for many food, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals companies that seek to address Muslim demand.

The report outlines opportunities for prospective players in the halal ingredients market, including companies, private equity investors, and e-commerce platforms.

“There will be an upwards growth trajectory in the size of the halal ingredients market – the status quo cannot continue. Muslim consumers will become more aware of what they are actually eating and eventually standards will become stringent and more widely applied,” said Haroon Latif, director of Strategic Insights at DinarStandard and Lead Analyst.

According to the Global Islamic Economy Report, worldwide spending on global halal food and lifestyle products could rise 10.8 per cent a year until 2019, to create an international industry worth $3.7 trillion.

The report, commissioned by the Government of Dubai and produced by Thomson Reuters in collaboration with strategy and research advisory firm Dinar Standard, says that the past year has seen major advancements in the global halal food and lifestyle sectors. These include investments by a Brazilian halal food provider in the UAE production plant, new halal testing technologies from France, Malaysia and the UAE, and international marketing of Dubai as a new Halal and Islamic Economy hub.

At the same time, the halal tourism sector, a huge driver of food, beverage and hospitality sales, has also advanced following product investments in the UAE, Maldives, Spain, Japan, Philippines and Russia, amongst others. The lucrative halal tourism market now represents 11.6 per cent of global tourism expenditure, excluding the busy Hajj and Umrah seasons, and is expected to be worth $238 billion by 2019.

According to the report, the halal food sector alone will grow to a valuation of $2.537 trillion by 2019, up from $795 billion in 2014, equating to 21.2 per cent of global food expenditure.

The top countries with Muslim consumer food consumption are Indonesia, with a market worth $190 billion; Turkey, where the market is valued at $168 billion; Pakistan at $108 billion and Iran, where the market equates to $97 billion based on 2013 data.

Malaysia, the UAE and Australia lead the report’s Halal Food Indicator, a gauge that focusses on the health of the country’s halal food ecosystem in relation to its size.

Republic Act No. 10817 – Philippine Halal Export Development and Promotion Act of 2016

Philippine Halal Export Development and Promotion Act of 2016

Republic of the Philippines
Congress of the Philippines
Metro Manila

Sixteenth Congress

Third Regular Session

Begun and held in Metro Manila, on Monday, the twenty-seventh day of July, two thousand fifteen.



Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled:

SECTION 1. Title. – This Act shall be known as the “Philippine Halal Export Development and Promotion Act of 2016”.

SEC. 2. Declaration of Policy. – Recognizing the significant role of exports to national economic development, and the potential contribution of Halal industries, it is hereby declared the policy of the State to promote the growth and ensure the integrity and quality of Philippine Halal exports.

With the internationalization of markets brought about by globalization and economic integration, and mindful of the State’s commitment under international trade agreements including multilateral and bilateral mutual recognition agreements, harmonization of standards to international standards and compliance to standards of Halal products, processes and services become indispensable. The State, therefore, shall assert its right to exercise police power against trade malpractices.

It is also the policy of the State to develop and promote Halal industries as a mode of achieving equity and justice among our farmers and producers, and increasing employment opportunities for the domestic labor force. With this, the State shall adopt measures to make Halal exports more competitive through, among others, research and product development, quality assurance measures, value-adding mechanisms, thereby making the Philippines an active player in regional and international markets and not just a mere spectator of globalized trade.

Lastly, it shall also be the policy of the State to protect consumers and users of Halal products, processes and services from unscrupulous and unfair agricultural, manufacturing and trade practices.

Towards these ends, the State shall establish a comprehensive program for the development and promotion of Halal export, provide the policy, regulatory, and coordinative structures and mechanisms for the promotion and export of Philippine Halal products, and institute measures and provide programs to ensure compliance and integrity of producers, manufacturers and providers of Halal products, processes and services to national and/or international or foreign standards.

SEC. 3. Definition of Terms. – As used in this Act, the following terms shall have the following definition:

(a) Accreditation refers to the procedure by which a government agency having jurisdiction formally attests to the competence of an inspection and/or certification body to provide inspection and certification services;

(b) Certification refers to third party attestation of conformance to standards and guidelines related to products, processes, systems or persons;

(c) Halal refers to lawful or permissible under Sharia’h (Islamic Law);

(d) Processes refer to a set of interrelated or interacting activities which transforms inputs to outputs;

(e) Products refer to food and nonfood items produced by human or mechanical effort, or by a natural process, or a combination thereof, and marketed or sold as a commodity;

(f) Recognition refers to the acknowledgment of the validity of a conformity assessment result provided by a person or body; and

(g) Services refer to an intangible result of at least one (1) activity performed by a supplier or provider for a customer.

SEC. 4. The Philippine Halal Export Development and Promotion Program. – There is hereby established the Philippine Halal Export Development and Promotion Program, which shall refer to the comprehensive set of objectives, targets, strategies and activities for the growth of Halal industries producing or providing products, processes and services and resulting to increased exports of Halal products.

It shall include, but not be limited to, the following areas of concern: the development and application of Halal agricultural and manufacturing standards and practices; the organization and development of accredited certification bodies through, among others, capacity building and the formulation and application of internationally-accepted accreditation standards; identification and expansion of markets for Halal products, processes and services; forging of international and bilateral agreements especially on harmonization of standards; compliance of producers, manufacturers, service providers, traders and exporters to established local or international standards; industry development and promotion, including expansion into nonfood Halal products and services; consumer awareness and fair trade practices; and provision of common service facilities.

SEC. 5. Creation of Philippine Halal Export Development and Promotion Board. – To ensure the attainment of the objectives of this Act, there is hereby created the Philippine Halal Export Development and Promotion Board, herein referred to as the Halal Board. The Halal Board shall be the policy-making body on Halal export development and shall set the overall direction for the implementation of the Philippine Halal Export Development and Promotion Program. It shall be attached to the Department of Trade and Industry.

In the performance of its mandate, the Halal Board shall institutionalize the involvement of Muslim Filipino people’s organizations and nongovernment organizations through membership in consultative or advisory bodies, coordination of activities with government agencies concerned with Halal industry development, and participation in regular consultative mechanisms such as public hearings and roundtable discussions.

SEC. 6. Powers and Functions. – The Halal Board shall have the following powers and functions:

(a) Formulate, advocate, coordinate, oversee and assess the implementation of the Philippine Halal Export Development and Promotion Program;

(b) Direct and coordinate the development and harmonization of Philippine National Standards for Halal by standard setting agencies, and monitor, through the government regulatory agencies, the application thereof on products, processes and services;

(c) Spearhead and support the forging of international agreements, and the recognition of accredited Halal certification bodies in other countries, to open new and expand existing markets for Halal products, processes and services;

(d) Issue the Philippine Halal Logo and the guidelines on the proper use thereof: Provided, That the use of logos of certification bodies on certified products, processes and services shall be without prejudice: Provided, further, That all other government agencies are prohibited to issue a logo and require the use of such logo as proof of compliance to a standard or regulation as Halal: Provided, finally, That the use of logos previously issued by government agencies involved in Halal development and promotion is hereby disallowed;

(e) Encourage and support the establishment of a single umbrella organization of Halal certification bodies, which can be tapped by standard setting and regulatory agencies to assist in the development and in monitoring the application of internationally-accepted Halal certification standards;

(f) Promulgate policies and guidelines as necessary or proper for the accomplishment of the objectives of this Act, including the Halal Board’s operation;

(g) Create technical panels, working groups, or task forces that will assist the Halal Board in the performance of its functions;

(h) Investigate and make recommendations on complaints, controversies, or disputes arising out of the implementation or enforcement of standards, guidelines, rules and procedures adopted to promote and develop Halal industries, the export of Halal products and the provision of Halal processes and services;

(i) Request the assistance and cooperation of any department, bureau, office, agency or instrumentality of the government, or private entities and organizations in the implementation of its functions and the attainment of the objectives of this Act, including the carrying out of recommendations as a result of investigations and studies made pursuant to paragraphs (g) and (h) hereof; and

(j) Perform such other powers and functions as may be prescribed by law, or may be necessary, incidental, or proper to its mandate.

SEC. 7. Composition of the Halal Board. – The Halal Board shall be composed of:

(a) The Secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) as Chairperson;

(b) The Secretary of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) as Vice Chairperson;

(c) The Secretary of the Department of Agriculture (DA);

(d) The Secretary of the Department of Health (DOH);

(e) The Secretary of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST);

(f) The Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA);

(g) The Secretary of the Department of Tourism (DOT);

(h) The Governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP);

(i) The Chairperson of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA); and

(j) Two (2) Muslim Filipino professionals from the academe, law, industry, or food science who have experience in Halal industry development, to be appointed by the President from at least four (4) nominees recommended by Muslim Filipino people’s organizations and nongovernment organizations.

The two (2) Muslim professionals shall serve for a term of three (3) years, and may be reappointed once.

The ex officio members of the Halal Board may designate their respective alternates who shall be at least Bureau Director in rank and their acts shall be considered the acts of their principals.

SEC. 8. Secretariat of the Halal Board. – The DTI Secretary, as Chairperson of the Halal Board, shall establish an interagency secretariat from the different bureaus of the DTI concerned with Halal export development, the NCMF, the DA and the DOH. The Secretariat shall be headed by the Director of the Export Marketing Bureau. For this purpose, the Export Marketing Bureau shall be strengthened and is hereby authorized to create a section that will serve as the nucleus of the Secretariat of the Halal Board.

The Secretaries of the NCMF, the DA and the DOH shall assign technical staff of their offices as staff of the Secretariat. Other member agencies shall provide additional staff support upon the determination of the necessity by the Chairperson and conformity of the Halal Board.

SEC. 9. Accreditation of Halal Certification Bodies. – As the agency mandated to handle the accreditation of certification bodies, inspection bodies, and testing and calibration laboratories, the Philippine Accreditation Bureau (PAB) is hereby empowered to: (a) formulate accreditation policies and guidelines which shall govern the accreditation of Halal certification bodies; and (b) grant or deny accreditation of Halal certification bodies and suspend or withdraw such accreditation in accordance with established policies and guidelines.

In the formulation of accreditation policies and guidelines, and in the performance of its accreditation function, the PAB shall consult and, when necessary, collaborate with the Halal Board, its member agencies, and Halal industry stakeholders.

SEC. 10. Philippine National Standards for Halal. – The development of Philippine National Standards for Halal shall be the mandate of the following standard setting agencies:

(a) Department of Agriculture – Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Standards (BAFS) – for primary and post-harvest foods;

(b) Department of Health – Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – for processed and prepackaged foods, drugs and cosmetics; and

(c) Department of Trade and Industry – Bureau of Philippine Standards (BPS) – for nonfood products aside from drugs and cosmetics.

Other products, processes and services that would necessitate the development of the corresponding Philippine National Standards for Halal which are not covered by the above agencies shall be assigned by the Halal Board to appropriate government agencies.

SEC. 11. Export and Trade Regulation of Halal Products, Processes and Services. – The following conditions shall apply in the export and trade of Halal products, processes and services:

(a) All Philippine products that will be exported as Halal, and processes and services whose outputs or benefits shall accrue or flow outside of the Philippine territory, shall (i) undergo certification from an accredited Halal certification body, (ii) comply with the appropriate Philippine National Standards for Halal as developed, or with international or foreign standards recognized, by standard setting agencies identified or mandated under Section 10 of this Act, and (iii) be registered with the national regulatory agency concerned;

(b) The Philippine Halal Logo, with the permission of the relevant regulatory agency, shall be affixed or used by producers, manufacturers, processors, traders, exporters, and service providers on their products, packaging, letterheads, brochures, leaflets and other forms of media after complying with the conditions set in paragraph (a) hereof;

(c) Halal certification of products, processes and services for domestic consumption or use is voluntary on the part of the producer, manufacturer, trader, retailer, or service provider; and

(d) Producers, manufacturers, traders, retailers, and service providers catering the domestic market and have undergone voluntary certification from accredited Halal certification bodies may apply and be granted permission to use the Philippine Halal Logo on their products, establishments, or facilities.

SEC. 12. Export Promotion. – The DTI, particularly the Export Marketing Bureau, in coordination with the DA, the DOH, and other concerned government agencies, shall enhance the capabilities and global competitiveness of existing and potential exporters of Halal products, processes and services, through business matching; provision of trade and market information; organization of trade fairs and business missions; conduct of seminars, workshops, conferences and symposium on export-related subjects, including export documentation and procedures; product design and development; market consultancy; and product consultancy.

To assist exporters find new and expand existing markets for Philippine Halal products, processes and services, the DTI and the DA shall task their Foreign Trade Service Corps and Foreign Agriculture Service Corps, respectively, to conduct commercial intelligence works and marketing activities. In addition, the DTI, together with the NCMF and the DFA shall pursue the recognition of accredited Halal certification bodies and certified Halal products, processes and services by accreditation and certification bodies of other countries.

SEC. 13. Infrastructure Support and Incentives. – To enhance the growth of Halal industries and assist farmers and producers in complying with the relevant Halal standards, the government, especially the DA, shall provide and/or upgrade necessary common service facilities such as slaughterhouses, warehouses, refrigeration facilities, and laboratory facilities and equipment, in strategic production, processing and manufacturing areas.

The Board of Investments, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority, and other investment promotion agencies are hereby mandated to promote the growth of Halal industries in the different economic zones and strategic locations in the country. They shall, as their charters allow, grant fiscal and non-fiscal incentives to attract investments in pioneering and essential industries to increase exports of Halal products or as raw materials or ingredients in the production of Halal products.

SEC. 14. Institutional and Human Resource Development. – The DTI, the NCMF, the DA, the DOH, the DOST, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), state universities and colleges (SUCs), certification bodies, the private sector, and Muslim Filipino organizations shall establish and implement an institutional and human resource development program for Halal industry development which shall include, but not limited to:

(a) Capacity building for producers, manufacturers and processors to enable them to comply with certification standards, including knowledge on facilities upgrading and retrofitting, adoption of accepted manufacturing practices, product and packaging development, marketing and product distribution, and business enterprise development;

(b) Skills trainings for Halal industry workers, farmers, fishermen, and producers to actively contribute in productivity, the practice of good agricultural, animal husbandry and manufacturing practices, and compliance to food safety, health, hygiene and sanitation standards;

(c) Scholarship program for the underprivileged but deserving college and post graduate students who are taking up courses in relevant field of disciplines in SUCs which have programs in agriculture and fisheries; and for technical- vocational courses for farmers, fishermen, farm technicians, and skilled workers in processing and manufacturing plants producing or providing Halal products, processes and services;

(d) Formulation and implementation of competency standards and training regulations for technical-vocational education and training for the Halal industry by the TESDA; and

(e) Upgrading of facilities, faculty development and strengthening of the on-the-job training program of higher education institutions in Halal technology and standards towards the build-up of competent graduates needed by Halal industries.

SEC. 15. Research, Development and Extension (RDE). – The DTI, the DA, the DOH, the DOST, the CHED, SUCs and private organizations shall formulate and implement a national research, development and extension program to develop, propagate, or commercialize products and technologies and to improve and expand the number of Halal products, processes and services.

SUCs with the capability to support RDE for Halal shall be identified and assisted by the CHED, in coordination with the DOST, the DA, the DTI and the DOH, the private sector, and Muslim Filipino organizations to become centers of development and excellence in Halal.

The DOST shall upgrade the capability of the PAB, the BPS, the FDA, the BAFS, other regulatory agencies, Halal certification bodies, producers, manufacturers and service providers in ensuring integrity and compliance to standards by imparting scientific and technical knowledge on Halal standards and in conducting laboratory analyses through its Philippine National Halal Laboratory and Science Center.

SEC. 16. Applicability of Fair Trade, Consumer Protection and Copyright Laws and Regulatory Agency Charters. – The relevant provisions of fair trade, consumer protection and copyright laws, and their implementing rules or orders, as well as the charters of regulatory and standard setting agencies shall be applied in the implementation of this Act to ensure compliance with Philippine National Standards on Halal and the use of the Philippine Halal Logo. Nothing herein shall be construed as limiting any department, agency or bureau from imposing, applying or enforcing the necessary fines and penalties under these laws.

The appropriate agencies of the DTI, the NCMF, the DA, and the DOH shall conduct consumer protection and advocacy programs to create awareness among consumers on Halal products, processes and services, and enable them to determine and complain unfair trade practices.

SEC. 17. Authority to Receive Donations and/or Grants. – The Halal Board is hereby authorized to accept grants, contributions, endowments, bequests, from local and foreign sources in support of the development and growth of Philippine Halal industries, including the development of Philippine National Standards for Halal, institutional development of certification bodies, producers, manufacturers and service providers, and consumer advocacy campaigns: Provided, That such donations shall not be used to fund personal services and other operating expenses of the Halal Board.

SEC. 18. Appropriations. – The amount necessary for the initial implementation of this Act shall be charged against the current appropriations of the DTI. Thereafter, such amount as may be necessary for the continuous operation of the Halal Board and the implementation of the Program shall be included in the annual General Appropriations Act.

SEC. 19. Transitory Provisions. – The Philippine Halal Promotion, Development and Accreditation Board, under the NCMF, is hereby dissolved. All Halal promotion and development records of the Board shall be transferred to the Halal Board, while accreditation records shall be transferred to the PAB.

SEC. 20. Implementing Rules and Regulations. – The Halal Board, in consultation with concerned government agencies, Muslim Filipino organizations, and Halal industry stakeholders, shall issue the implementing rules and regulations of this Act within ninety (90) days starting from the effectivity of this Act.

SEC. 21. Repealing Clause. – All laws, decrees, executive orders and rules and regulations or part or parts thereof inconsistent with any provision of this Act are hereby repealed, modified or amended accordingly.

SEC. 22. Separability Clause. – If any provision of this Act is declared unconstitutional, the validity of the remaining provisions hereof shall remain in full force and effect.

SEC. 23. Effectivity. – This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days after its publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation.


Speaker of the House
of Representatives
President of the Senate

Senate Bill No. 2831, which was approved by the Senate on September 21, 2015, was adopted as an amendment to House Bill No. 6347 by the House of Representatives on February 1, 2016.

Secretary General
House of Representatives
Secretary of the Senate

Approved: MAY 16 2016

President of the Philippines

Philippine Halal-tourism project expands


WITH a surge in demand in halal tourism, the Department of Tourism (DOT) expanded the scope of the Philippine Halal Tourism Project, engaging more areas that are bent to take advantage of the $3.2 trillion global market.

DOT Assistant Secretary Arturo Boncato Jr., during the opening ceremony of the Halal Tourism Expo Friday at the Abreeza Mall of Davao, said Zamboanga, Koronadal, General Santos City, Caraga, Bohol and Siargao intend to be part of the project.

“Originally, we only implemented it (project) to four areas (Manila, Boracay, Cebu and Davao) but we are expanding it to Zamboanga, Koronadal, Gensan, Caraga, Bohol and Siargao as there is a big demand in these areas for Halal. The tourism-oriented establishments there including hotels, restaurants and resorts would also like to welcome the halal project and become part of it,” he told Sun.Star in an interview with Sun.Star Davao at the sidelines of the expo.

Halal food is that which adheres to Islamic law.

The project, which started in January, will look into the whole Halal ecosystem from food, travel, lifestyle and finances.

Originally, the project is targeting 50 tourism-oriented establishments nationwide to be a certified “halal-friendly” by Halal International Chamber of Commerce and Industries of the Philippines (HICCIP) adhering to international halal standards within this year.

“We had managed to certify with HICCP a total of 16 hotels, resorts all over the Philippines, the other remaining are due end of May,” Boncato said.

Of the figure, Boncato said that six are from Davao City which include Marco Polo Hotel-Davao, Villa Margarita, Zabadani and Southern Philippine Medical Center (Hospital in Davao with Muslim-friendly kitchen), among others. While over 10 establishments are still working on their compliance.

Boncato also said that Baguio and Palawan have showed interest in participating in the project.

Crescent Rating, a Singapore-based halal accreditation body, Halal International Chamber of Commerce and Industries of the Philippines (HICCIP) and the tourism department will assess the participating establishment on how “halal-friendly” their businesses are.

On the rating, it will be based on the suitability of an establishment as holiday destination, family friendliness, safety with combined percent weight of 40 percent, Muslim friendly services and facilities availability (40 percent) and halal awareness and reach out to Muslims (20 percent).

With the global market value for the halal industry is expected to double from $3.2 trillion to a $6.4 trillion by 2018, major tourism players have been urged to seize opportunities offered by the growing halal industry.

Major tourism players tapped to push for Philippine Halal


DAVAO CITY (Antonio L. Colina IV, MindaNews ) – Major tourism players will be tapped to push for the development of the Halal sector in the country in a bid to attract more tourists from Islamic countries.

In a roundtable discussion at Dermpath at SM City on Tuesday, Marilou Ampuan, a trustee of the Tourism Congress of the Philippines, said that they are encouraging business establishments to seek for accreditation from a certifier who is accredited by the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF).

She said that these tourism players are in the frontline who welcome the Muslim tourists when they come to visit the country.

There are only three NCMF-accredited certifiers in the country, one each for Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, Ampuan added.

There are initially 10 industry players in Davao, 20 in the Visayas (10 are in Boracay Island), and 20 in Luzon who have so far signified their interest to be tapped as industry partners who will apply the principles and concepts of Halal in the production of their products and services.

Ampuan said that it would be best if the industry players will be granted with tax exemption while they are starting.

“For 2016, we want to increase the awareness of the people about Halal. We cannot tell them what to do without having the basic information about Halal,” she said.

In July 2015, the City Council amended the “Halal Ordinance” in order to advance and protect the rights, culture, and lifestyle of the Muslims.

Under the amended ordinance, food establishments that offer Halal-processed food and beverages should secure a Halal certification from an NCMF-accredited body.

“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,” City Councilor Mabel Sunga-Acosta said during the Halal Festival in July last year at Abreeza Mall.

Acosta added that NCMF provides more standardized regulations in Halal-processing that apply to all food and non-food establishments.

Ampuan said hotels in the city should have basic necessities for Muslim tourists like quibla, an arrow that points to the direction of Mecca; prayer mats during salat, a Muslim prayer which is done five times daily; and Islamic reading materials like the Quran.

“Our hotels must provide these basic necessities so that they will feel at home,” she said.

Among the hotels in the city that have agreed to comply with the basic requirements include Marco Polo Hotel Davao, Seda Abreeza Hotel, Park Inn By Radisson Davao, Grand Regal Hotel Davao, Waterfront Insular Hotel, Microtel, and El Bajada Hotel.

Davao City is poised to be a Halal-friendly city, Ampuan added.

Citing the need to develop more accredited businesses, she said that Halal is a $3.2-trillion global industry where the Philippines’s share is minuscule as compared to its ASEAN neighbors like Malaysia.

Ampuan said that there have been Halal-certified businesses in the country that are already exporting, however she pointed out that the country’s brands are not so credible in the global market.

Peace body (OPAPP) filed fake attendance records

Teresita Quintos-Deles

THE Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process appears to have submitted bogus attendance records for its conferences, meetings and forums in 2014, a Commission on Audit report says, noting that the signatures that appeared on the documents to support its expenses were “doubtful.”

“In a number of attendance sheets, different names were printed, but the handwriting and strokes were similar,” said the report that was posted on the CoA website.

The state auditors also noted that several attendance sheets that included the same name had different signatures.

“We reviewed on a sampling basis the attendance sheets and accomplishment reports for the meal expenses incurred by the International Monitoring Team and Government of the Philippines-Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities and observed inconsistencies in the handwriting of different signatories,” CoA said.

“This was also true with Ars, where ARs from the same establishments showed different signatures although the names indicated were the same,” the CoA said.

Moreover, a review on a sampling of the attendance sheets for the 2014 meal expenses also showed discrepancies.

The commission warned that errant personnel would face charges, and urged the OPAPP to conduct an investigation.

Under CoA Circular 2012-001 issued on June 14, 2012, claims against government funds should be supported by complete, sufficient and relevant documents to establish the validity of the claim.

CoA also questioned OPAPP’s use of P45.33 million worth of car rental services in 2014 without the necessary authorization and with dubious supporting documents.

Based on an annual audit report, CoA said  OPAPP leased 294 vehicles, 89 of which were rented on a monthly basis, while 205 were rented on a “per activity” arrangement.

These were in addition to 56 vehicles owned by the agency, the CoA found.

The OPAPP’s financial plan and schedule of expenses under its own 2014 budget showed only P7.97 million appropriated for rent of motor vehicles, but this limit was not observed as actual spending on car rentals showed an excess of 469 percent, the auditor said.

To cover the shortfall, state auditors said OPAPP channeled funds from other programs without the prior approval of the Department of Budget and Management.

“We verified compliance of OPAPP to the above requirements and found that 89 motor vehicles rented on a monthly basis for calendar year 2014 were not covered by an authority from the DBM. The necessity of renting 294 motor vehicles cannot be adequately established since the purposes or activities were not always indicated in the supporting documents,” the CoA said.

Malaysia Halal Products Export To Hit RM50 Billion This Year 2016


Malaysia is targeting halal products export to hit RM50 billion this year compared with last year’s target of RM40 billion.

As of September 2015, the export value of halal products totalled RM31.1 billion, up 27 per cent from a year earlier, said Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry (MITI) Datuk Ahmad Maslan.

Hence, he was confident of achieving the target of RM40 billion for 2015.

The top five markets for Malaysia’s halal products exports last year were China, Singapore, the United States, Indonesia, and the Netherlands, he told reporters after visiting Dewina Food Industries Sdn Bhd, the manufacturer of popular halal food brand, Brahim’s, in Bandar Baru Bangi, Friday.

The top six halal products sectors included food and beverage, halal ingredients, palm oil derivatives, cosmetics and personal care, industrial chemicals and pharmaceuticals, he added.

Ahmad said as of December 2014, there were 5,415 halal certified companies in Malaysia, an increase of 30.5 per cent from 4,443 recorded in 2013.

Out of the total, 1,841 or 34 per cent were Bumiputera companies, he said.

“I urged that more Bumiputera companies are involved in halal certification and acquire the halal certification as halal and Muslim are closely related,” he said.

Halal Industry Development Corporation Chief Executive Officer Datuk Seri Jamil Bidin said halal exports contributed about five per cent to total exports as of September last year.

Meanwhile, Ahmad reassured that the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) would not affect the halal industry as there was a clause in the trade pact that gave recognition to the industry and Malaysia Islamic Development Department (Jakim).

“We don’t have to worry as it would not affect the halal industry, furthermore, it (TPPA) recognises the halal industry and Jakim certification in the agreement.

“This puts the halal industry in good stead for the future,” he added.

Also present was Brahim’s Group Executive Chairman Datuk Ibrahim Ahmad.

Why Japanese Chefs Are Embracing Halal Food


Donburi and chazuke probably aren’t the first dishes that come to mind when you think about halal food. Hell, it’s rare to see much cultural cross-pollination in Japanese cuisine at all—hamburg steak and Naporitan aside.

That being said, the once isolationist island nation of Japan seems to be pushing forward in a real way to embrace halal-certified food—which is a pretty smart move considering Japan’s relative proximity to some of the nations with the world’s largest number of Muslims, like Malaysia and Indonesia. Japan would like to entice the world’s Muslim population to come visit, stay for a while, and eat. The World Halal Forum states that the global trade in halal food and beverages is around $1.4 trillion annually.

Sushi Ken in the Taito district of Tokyo is just one of numerous restaurants in Japan that now serve halal-certified food. Not that the conversion to the halal standard—which bans the use of alcohol and pork and requires slaughter of animals to be done by a Muslim, among other things—has been easy. Plus, Muslim tastes differ. The manager of Sushi Ken, Masao Ito told Channel News Asia, “In Japan, places where they handle halal seasoning are very limited. I have had difficulty getting my hands on them. The fish itself is not a problem. [But one significant] problem is processed food.” At Sushi Ken, seasonings are now made in-house.

In the Taito ward, it used to be that the only halal-certified restaurants were Indian, but now it has 17 restaurants that serve halal food. The local city government actually offered subsidies of up to US $820 to restaurants that earned a halal certification.

There’s even a Halal Expo in Japan. It had 80 exhibitors last year and 120 this year. “Japan is not a Muslim country so the market is very small,” said chairman of the Japan Halal Expo Executive Committee, Yoshichika Terasawa. “It’s gradually expanding. But it depends on Muslim visitors to Japan. I hope more food suppliers (and) exporters go to the cities to find their new market, the Muslim market.”

Restaurants in Japan that want to attract Muslim visitors realize that halal certification is only the first step. They also have to serve food that will be appealing to visitors from countries like Indonesia, the nation with the largest Muslim population in the world. To that end, one halal business in Tokyo, Tsutau Co., has enlisted a health and nutrition professor at Bunkyo University to come up with recipes for a new halal cuisine website. The professor, Seiichi Kasaoka, and his students have created a website of recipes of Japanese halal foods that use ingredients like soy sauce without alcohol and halal-certified meats.

As the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo draw nearer, Japan will be seeking all sorts of ways to entice visitors from all over the world to visit its shores. So if you find yourself in Osaka and have a sudden desire for some halal-style adzuki bean soup with satsuma-imo sweet potato, they’ve probably got you covered.

Halal Tourism sector ready for Middle East tourists


WITH the recent announcement of a Cebu–Dubai direct link, local tourism industry players are getting ready for the expected influx of tourists from Middle Eastern countries.

Tour operator Alice Queblatin said seminars, forums and briefings have already been conducted to better prepare the tourism sector to provide halal-certified food and accommodate any special requirements by the Middle Eastern tourists.

“We are doing an intensive understanding of their food, idiosyncrasies and lifestyle so that the resorts will know how to deal with the families. Direct connectivity (to the Middle East) is going to be a plus for Cebu,” she said.

Several restaurants in the province are already serving halal-certified food, Queblatin said.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) has also piloted a project that will help tourism establishments achieve halal certification.

Crimson Resort and Spa, highlighted as one of the preferred accommodations by travelers from the Middle East because of its private villas, is one of the 10 hotels in Cebu province selected as pilot establishments.

Other establishments are Cebu City Marriott Hotel, Cebu Parklane Hotel, Costabella Tropical Beach Resort, Marco Polo Hotel, Maribago Bluewater Beach Resort, Movenpick, Radisson Blu Cebu, Shangri-la Mactan Resort and Spa, and Waterfront Cebu Hotel and Casino.

Emirates Airlines of the UAE will launch daily Dubai–Cebu–Clark flights starting March 30 this year.

The flights will be serviced by a Boeing 777-300ER, and will have a seating capacity of 42 seats for business class and 386 seats in economy class.

In a statement, Thierry Antinori, executive vice president and chief commercial officer of Emirates, said in a statement that the carrier will “help enhance the Philippine’s trade links with the rest of the world and boost incoming tourism to Philippines, supporting the DOT’s “Visit the Philippines Again 2016” campaign.

The new route also heralds Emirates’ reentry into Clark after its first entry in 2013.

An underlying benefit in opening the new route anticipated by the official is the possible reentry of Qatar Airways. The carrier stopped servicing Cebu–Doha flights in 2009.

Govt surprised by MNLF muster

nur misuari

THOUSANDS of armed Moro National Liberation Front fighters and affiliated groups massed up at Indanan, Sulu,  Friday, taking government troops by surprise, and leading them to take up positions against a possible attack.

The military put its forces in Zamboanga City on high alert to prevent the repeat of the bloody fighting in the city on Sept. 8, 2013 that claimed the lives of more than 100 people including soldiers, MNLF rebels and civilians after nearly a month of bloody skirmishes.

The MNLF rebels swooped down on Astana, in Indanan, Sulu bearing independent state flags for the start of the two-days National Parliament and General Assembly conference in the province.

The meeting was based on the orders of MNLF founding chairman Nur Misuari, Misuari’s directive was issued by Murshi Ibrahim, MNLF secretary general through a memorandum.

MNLF spokesman Absalom Cerveza said that the meeting was preparatory for the upcoming Islamic Inter-Parliamentary Union meeting.

“The assembly is in preparation for Misuari’s attendance to the IPU meeting later this year in an Islamic country that at present is still unknown,” Cerveza said.

He also said that several items would be tackled during the general assembly but declined to give any details

The massing up of MNLF forces drew criticism from Zamboanga City Mayor Bing Climaco.

“Why is the government allowing Misuari to roam free, when in fact he has a warrant of arrest?”

Misuari is facing rebellion case after hundreds of armed followers stormed Zamboanga City displacing thousand of inhabitants.

Climaco said the rebels were crossing the city on their way to Indanan.

The military and police escorted the Sulu-bound MNLF rebels to ensure that they would not take up arms in the city, Climaco said.

On Sept. 8, 2013, the MNLF forces also massed-up at the coastal areas in Zamboanga City, which led to MNLF’s staging of attacks and occupation of key installations and residential buildings barely weeks after Misuari declared Mindanao independence that sparked bloody fighting with government forces.

Misuari was disgusted after the government entered peace negotiation with its rival faction Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Source: by Francisco Tuyay, Manila Standard Today.

15 Things You Should Know About Pigs – Why Pork is Haram in Islam

Why Pork is Haram in Islam – 15 Things You Should Know About Pigs:

1) A pig is a real garbage gut. It will eat anything including urine, excrement, dirt, decaying animal flesh, maggots, or decaying vegetables. They will even eat the cancerous growths off other pigs or animals.

2) The meat and fat of a pig absorbs toxins like a sponge. Their meat can be 30 times more toxic than beef or venison.

3) When eating beef or venison, it takes 8 to 9 hours to digest the meat so what little toxins are in the meat are slowly put into our system and can be filtered by the liver. But when pork is eaten, it takes only 4 hours to digest the meat. We thus get a much higher level of toxins within a shorter time.

4) Unlike other mammals, a pig does not sweat or perspire. Perspiration is a means by which toxins are removed from the body. Since a pig does not sweat, the toxins remain within its body and in the meat.

5) Pigs and swine are so poisonous that you can hardly kill them with strychnine or other poisons.

6) Farmers will often pen up pigs within a rattlesnake nest because the pigs will eat the snakes, and if bitten they will not be harmed by the venom.

7) When a pig is butchered, worms and insects take to its flesh sooner and faster than to other animal’s flesh. In a few days the swine flesh is full of worms.

Swine and pigs have over a dozen parasites within them, such as tapeworms, flukes, worms, and trichinae. There is no safe temperature at which pork can be cooked to ensure that all these parasites, their cysts, and eggs will be killed.

9) Pig meat has twice as much fat as beef. A 3 oz T bone steak contains 8.5 grams of fat; a 3 oz pork chop contains 18 grams of fat. A 3 oz beef rib has 11.1 grams of fat; a 3 oz pork spare rib has 23.2 grams of fat.

10) Cows have a complex digestive system, having four stomachs. It thus takes over 24 hours to digest their vegetarian diet causing its food to be purified of toxins. In contrast, the swine’s one stomach takes only about 4 hours to digest its foul diet, turning its toxic food into flesh.

11) The swine carries about 30 diseases which can be easily passed to humans. This is why God commanded that we are not even to touch their carcase (Leviticus 11:8).

12) The trichinae worm of the swine is microscopically small, and once ingested can lodge itself in our intestines, muscles, spinal cord or the brain. This results in the disease trichinosis. The symptoms are sometimes lacking, but when present they are mistaken for other diseases, such as typhoid, arthritis, rheumatism, gastritis, MS, meningitis, gall bladder trouble, or acute alcoholism.

13) The pig is so poisonous and filthy, that nature had to prepare him a sewer line or canal running down each leg with an outlet in the bottom of the foot. Out of this hole oozes pus and filth his body cannot pass into its system fast enough. Some of this pus gets into the meat of the pig.

14) According to Jewish law, pork is one of a number of foods forbidden from consumption by Jews. These foods are known as “non-kosher” foods. In order for a meat to be kosher, it must first come from a kosher animal. A kosher animal must be a ruminant and have split hooves – therefore cows, sheep, goats and deer are all kosher, whereas camels and pigs (having each only one sign of kashrut) are not kosher.

15) Quran, Holy book of Muslims also prohibits consumption of pork.

“He has made unlawful for you that which dies of itself and blood and the flesh of swine and that on which the name of any other than Allah has been invoked. But he who is driven by necessity, being neither disobedient nor exceeding the limit, then surely, Allah is Most Forgiving, Merciful.” Quran 2:173

I cannot understand why anyone would eat it. You might as well vacuum all day and then take the vacuum bag and make a nice soup out of it.

“Of course our Creator has given us the health laws through the Holy Quran and not eating pigs is even CLEARLY mentioned in the Bible (Leviticus 11:07)

But some humans think they are more intelligent than the Creator so they choose

Cebu gets direct Dubai flight

THE entry of Emirates Airline to Cebu will enhance trade and tourism links between the province and the Middle East countries, tourism stakeholders in Cebu said yesterday.

Starting March 30, the Dubai-based airline will commence its daily Dubai-Cebu-Clark (DXB-CEB-CRK-DXB) circular service in the Philippines utilizing Boeing 777-300ER.

This new route “will strengthen international connectivity in two of the country’s fastest-growing international hubs.”

This service, the airline added, will mark its return to Clark after its first entry in 2013 and will provide travelers both in Cebu and Clark with the fast connections to destinations in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and the America, via Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).

“With this service, Emirates will enhance the choice for travellers in the Philippines, who will be able to conveniently connect to 39 cities in Europe, 16 in the Middle East as well as a number of destinations across our extensive network in Africa and the Americas, including Panama from February 1,” said Thierry Antinori, executive vice-president and chief commercial officer of Emirates, in a statement.

Emirates’ entry to the Philippines will also help boost the Department of Tourism’s (DOT) Visit the Philippines Again 2016 campaign, the Emirates official said.

Likewise, it will expand travel options for Filipinos and offer flexibility for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) going in and out of the country.

“The entrance of Emirates to Cebu is a welcome treat for tourism and local businesses. With the goal of the DOT and the hotel industry of attracting meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (Mice) to our shores, Emirates will make it easier to connect the west to Cebu. This will boost arrivals hopefully by another 15 percent,” said Julie Najar, president of Hotels, Resorts, and Restaurants Association of Cebu (HRRAC).

Alice Queblatin, Tourism Congress vice president for Travel and Tour Group for Visayas, likewise shared the same positive thoughts, saying this new route will open tourism opportunities between Cebu and the Middle East countries.

“With connectivity in place, we are now in a direct position to capture these high-value tourism markets,” said Queblatin, who also owns Southwind Travel and Tours.

“The Middle East is a growing market. We receive inquiries from frequent individual travelers (FIT), small groups, honeymooners, and families who want to spend vacation in resorts here,” she said.

Queblatin said Cebu is ready to host tourists from these Muslim-dominated countries.

A report from the Regional Development Council (RDC) 7 said the DOT is pursuing the Philippine Halal Tourism Project to capture a good slice of the trillion-dollar Halal industry.

Halal-certified establishments serve halal food and allocate a place to perform Islamic prayers. Ten establishments in Cebu will participate in the piloting stage of the project.

Queblatin also believes the entry of Emirates to Cebu may also pave the way for other airlines, including those that have halted operations, such as Qatar Airways, to reopen flights to Cebu.

Emirates’ entry will also boost trade linkage between Cebu and the Middle East.

“It will definitely be an added boost to all private and public sector efforts. It will not only cut both cost and time for them and for us but will also make Cebu a transit point for Visayas-Mindanao travelers and businessmen,” said Ma. Teresa Chan, president of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Emirates’ daily flights from Cebu will depart as EK338 at 5:25 pm arriving at Clark International Airport at 6:45 p.m. From Clark, it will make its way to Dubai at 8:20 p.m, arriving at Dubai International Airport at 1:25 a.m the next day. The return flight will depart Dubai and arrive at Mactan-Cebu International Airport at 6:45 p.m.

The two-class configured Boeing 777-300ER offers 42 seats in business class and 386 seats in economy. The airline said flights to and from the Philippines will cater to the needs of the Filipinos, with Filipino-speaking cabin crew on board, and inflight cuisine options with popular Filipino dishes.

“Filipinos living in Visayas and Mindanao who go to the Middle East and Europe will benefit from this new route. Now they can fly directly from Cebu and save the hard-earned money they would usually spend on board, lodging and transportation if departing from Manila,” said Louie Ferrer, GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. (GMCAC) in a statement.

GMCAC said it has identified three key markets—Middle East, USA, and Europe—to connect to Cebu to facilitate an increase in inward tourism, outbound travel for Filipinos, including OFWs, and cargo capacity to support exports of Filipino products.

Srinivas Bommidala, chairman of the GMCAC Board, said that the pursuit of new and diverse routes for Cebu was supported by detailed economic analysis to ensure the long-term sustainability, as well as economic and social benefits for passengers and businesses.

Emirates operates multiple daily frequencies into GMR’s airports in Delhi and Hyderabad in India.

Also flying this March is the Cebu-Los Angeles direct flight via Philippine Airlines.

Meet Halal Makeup, the Latest In Natural Cosmetics

Halal is one of the fast growing labels for cosmetics. Find out if it’s worth the extra effort

Halal, the Arabic word meaning “allowed” or “permissible,” is generally used to describe food that adheres to Islamic dietary law. This law bans things like pork and alcohol and dictates how animals must be slaughtered, for example. But now, savvy female entrepreneurs are bringing the standard to makeup by creating cosmetic lines that promise to not only follow Islamic law, but to offer more natural and safer makeup for non-Muslims too.

Are halal cosmetics worth the added cost and effort?

For many Muslim women, the answer is clearly yes (although not all Muslims believe that the law extends to makeup), and the market is growing exponentially, according to market analysts in The Business of Fashion. They say to expect to see both indie and larger brands touting halal on their products this year. Some uber popular brands, like Shiseido, have already added “halal certified” to their list of standards, right next to things like vegan and paraben-free.

Is there a point for non-Muslims?

Well, some halal cosmetic brands maintain their product is held to a higher standard than regular makeup. “Many who visit our store for the first time have a limited understanding of halal, but, once they understand the philosophy and come to know that our products are vegan, cruelty free and devoid of harsh chemicals, they show a keen interest in trying our products,” Mauli Teli, the co-founder of Iba Halal Care, told Euromonitor.

Still, it may be more hype than substance, says Ni’Kita Wilson, Ph.D., a cosmetic chemist and the founder and CEO of Skinects. “I would not consider halal makeup to be ‘cleaner’ or better regulated,” she explains. “There are no cosmetic regulations around [the label] ‘halal’ therefore it is up to the brand to self-regulate.”

It’s this lack of consistency under the “halal” umbrella that has many consumers concerned. While all the products seem to avoid pork (weirdly, a common ingredient in lipstick) and alcohols, other claims vary widely from company to company. Although, to be fair, this problem certainly isn’t limited to halal makeup companies.

And so, like most cosmetics, it comes down to the strength of the individual product, says Wilson. But she doesn’t exactly see a downside to the label either. So if you’re up for a little experimenting and love to support independent female-owned labels, halal-certified cosmetics might be a fun way to mix up your makeup this year.

Indonesia Getting Ready For The Largest Fashion Week 2016

Jakarta. The biggest fashion festival in Indonesia, 2016 Jakarta Fashion Week (JFW), kicks off this Saturday at Senayan City shopping mall, South Jakarta, entering its eighth edition to more than 250 Indonesian and 15 international designers.

Self-proclaimed as the most influential fashion week in Southeast Asia, the programs held during JFW include not only include a procession of runway shows, but also film screenings, an award show for promising young designers, and a series of discussions on the controversial topics affecting the fashion industry today.

The Jakarta Globe rounds up the things to look forward to at JFW.

Indonesian fashion’s old and new guards

The line-up of designers displaying their spring-summer 2016 collections at JFW fashion tent is a colorful blend of established names and emerging talent.

Didi Budiardjo, who earlier this year celebrated his 25 years in fashion with an acclaimed exhibition, will host a solo show next Wednesday evening. On the same night, couturier Sapto Djojokartiko will show display a collection from his new ready-to-wear label Todjo.

Meanwhile, shows by celebrated but relatively new designers are distributed evenly throughout the week. This weekend, for instance, fashion goers will witness shows by the likes of Tex Saverio, who’s dressed Hollywood starlets such as Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lawrence.

Other designers displaying their collections at JFW include Toton and the label Major Minor, who have collaborated with with contemporary artists like Eko Nugroho for their upcoming collections.

Dewi Fashion Knights will become a fitting finale for this year’s JFW when it showcases five leading Indonesian designers Peggy Hartanto, Felicia Budi of fbudi, Lulu Lutfi Labibi, Rinaldy Yunardi and Haryono Setiadi, on Friday night.

Introduction of new talents

In keeping up with JFW’s mission to propel young talent into the limelight, fashion and lifestyle magazine CLEO will host its annual award show on Wednesday night.

At the award show, seven up-and-coming fashion labels including Aesthetic Pleasure, B.Y.O. and Paulina Katarina, have been selected as the finalists to compete for the “Most Innovative Local Brand” and the “Most Promising Accessories Brand” awards.

Muslim wear redefined

Indonesia has long being perceived as the world capital for Muslim wear, so it is no wonder that JFW has also tapped into this market of “modest wear” — a relatively new term intended to cast a wider net of customers.

Highlights include Dian Pelangi, the poster girl of Indonesia “hijabers,” who was recently inducted into the list of 500 most influential people in the global fashion industry by the popular website Business of Fashion. She will hold two shows on Sunday and Monday.

Sustainable and ethical fashion

Lucy Siegle, a British writer with expertise on sustainable and ethical fashion, will speak at a talk show about the topics organized by the British Council on Monday. The documentary she co-produced with Livia Firth, “The True Cost” — which reveals the dark side of fast fashion companies — will be screened the following day.

Indonesia’s Ministry of Industry will also hold another talk show “Beginning Ethical Fashion” on Monday,where discussions will include whether ethical conditions for workers in the fashion industry are adhered to.

It will be followed by a fashion show featuring Merdi Sihombing, who uses traditional woven textiles to support Indonesian workmanship, as well as Friederich Herman, who is committed to providing a safe and comfortable work atmosphere for his employees.

Cultural exchanges

JFW also collaborates with a number of Asian cultural organizations to bring international designers to Jakarta. The Japan Fashion Week Organization has invited designer Suzuki Takayuki, who will display his innovative collection with local Indonesian brand Bateeq on Sunday.

Meanwhile on Friday, the Korean Cultural Center will present a show featuring Indonesian designer Patrick Owen, who just recently display his spring collection at Seoul Fashion Week with his Korean counterpart Sujinn Kim of the label Soulpot Studio.

Zamboecozone OKs projects worth P9.7B

THE VALUE of the investment commitments approved by the Zamboanga City Special Economic Zone Authority in 2015 surged to P9.7 billion from only P9.8 million a year ago due largely to a proposed 300-megawatt solar farm.

In an interview, Alfonso Basilio A. Marquez, head of corporate relations at the Zamboecozone, said the biggest investment pledge for 2015 was that of Ecoglobal Inc., a monocystalline solar power firm that had committed to invest P9.2 billion in the planned solar facility.

Zamboanga Coffee Co. is meanwhile pouring out some P420 million for a seed production center, nurseries, coffee mills, and plantations, while Phil Union Canning Co. (PUCCI), which is engaged in the manufacturing, processing, buying, selling and dealing in pasteurized crab meat, frozen crab meat and canned seafood products, is expected to invest P35.9 million.

Other approved investments were those of Seaoil Philippines; Development Bank of the Philippines; AHS Agri Aqua Ventures; Aces Technical Services Group; RPH Enterprises; Zamboanga Hemp Agro-Resources; and Ecosystem Technologies Inc.

“We are targeting 20 additional locators (at the Zamboecozone) for 2016. The agriculture sector will still be the (main) driver of growth for Zamboeocozone for the next few years,” Marquez said.

According to Marquez, the Zamboecozone offers opportunities for investors to set up their respective processing plants for Halal chicken, tea, fish, coffee, cassava, mango, and coconut water; plantations for coffee, cacao, rubber, abaca, and tomato; and production facilities for tomato paste and abaca.

Other locators that are being eyed were operators of fishponds, poultry and livestock, and piggery; companies wanting to set up warehousing and cold storage facilities; fish quality control laboratory; and business process and outsourcing (BPO), among others.

The Zamboecozone is also being eyed as a Halal hub, with the government already allocating some 100 hectares for the establishment of the halal processing zone.

“One of our missions is to bring the Halal Certifiers and establish a one-stop office inside the zone. We are also in close coordination with the Department of Science and Technology for the establishment of Halal Laboratory inside the zone. We also conducted a study visit to various Halal Parks in Malaysia,” Marquez added.  (Amy R. Remo)

South Korean food producers set sights on Halal Market

SEOUL – South Korean processed food companies and farmers are ramping up efforts to tap into the rapidly growing global halal market as they face tougher competition from cheaper rivals and unfavorable foreign exchange rates, industry watchers said Monday.

Halal food refers to food products that are prepared in a specific way according to Islamic Sharia law, which covers not only meat but also fruits and vegetables. The global halal market stands at around US$2.3 trillion, or roughly 18 percent of the total food market, with 1 in 4 people living on the planet being a Muslim.

South Korean exports of food and agrofisheries products to Muslim countries have been growing solidly as local food producers train their sights on the halal market, which is widely expected to continue to grow down the road in line with the rising Islamic population.

According to data by the farm ministry, shipments of food and agrofisheries products to Muslim countries belonging to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) moved up 5.9 percent on-year to $339 million in the January-November period. Last year, all halal food exports, including those that went to the GCC hit $860 million.

From 2010 through 2014, halal exports rose a solid 69.3 percent, which outpaced the 51.5 percent growth in farm and food exports for the country overall. Besides the GCC countries, exports to Indonesia, Malaysia and Iran have all risen significantly.

In contrast, outbound shipments of food and agrofisheries products dipped 1.2 percent on-year to $5.57 billion in the 11-month period. In 2014, Asia’s fourth-largest economy exported $6.18 billion worth of food-related goods.

“Halal is promising because of its size, and the fact that it is a relatively untapped market for South Korean companies and farmers,” a farm ministry official said. “Many Muslim countries are keen to buy, safe and high quality products, instead of opting for the least expensive.”

In late June last year, the farm ministry announced that it hopes to push up halal food exports to $1.5 billion annually by 2017 that can give more opportunities to local farmers and food producers.

The data showed that demand for fresh produce and grain, along with processed food, such as ginseng extract, kimchi, powdered milk, instant coffee and noodles, have all been on the rise, with all indicators showing signs of continued growth.

Reflecting such growth potential, local companies have been moving to acquire licenses to make halal food, even opening eateries that sell dishes that can be consumed by Muslims.

They have also aligned themselves with the government and state-run trade promotion agencies like the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency to get the latest information on export market conditions and strengthen overseas marketing efforts.

CJ CheilJedang Corp., SPC Group, Lotte Chilsung Beverage Co., LG Ourhome Co. and Maeil Dairies Co. have all received permission to produce food and drinks that can be consumed by Muslims. The products these companies can make and sell range from various types of bread and dairy products to juices and processed food.

SPC said it has secured permission from the Korea Muslim Federation in 2012 to make halal food, while Maeil won a certification from the Indonesian Ulema Council late last year that is a prerequisite to selling halal food that can be consumed on the island nation.

The company said it is seeking similar certifications from organizations in Malaysia and Singapore that can further help it expand exports.

Other companies, such as Binggrae and Seoul Milk, have said their local production lines have been cleared to make halal food.

Such efforts have led to export gains with Lotte Chilsung Beverage Co., with about a 75 percent spike in sales, with Binggrae Co. and Dr. Chung’s Food Co. all reporting new sales to Muslim countries.

“With the global Muslim population on the rise, the possibility for growth is limitless so many companies are moving to develop more halal products for consumption,” an official at CJ CheilJedang said.


Russia looks to become halal friendly

Tourism authorities have launched a program to make more halal-certified food products available in Russia. The program aims to attract more tourists from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

In December 2015, Russia launched a program to encourage some hotels and restaurants in the country to comply with halal requirements.

The Halal Friendly Program was launched to coincide with the opening of the VisitRussia office in Dubai in the first week of December. Russian officials plan to use the program to attract more Muslim tourists to the country.

 Muslim travelers

Irina Schegolkova, an official with the Halal Friendly Program, believes that Russian tourism authorities have not been paying enough attention to the Middle East.

“Tour groups from Muslim countries are expected to triple in the near future. The program will help attract tourists from the Middle East,” she says. “In the past, visitors from the Gulf mainly came on business, but now we intend to attract ordinary tourists. We want to show them the Russian winter, something that doesn’t exist in their part of the world.”

Visit Russia offices will be opened in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf countries. Tourism authorities are planning to work with flydubai and Emirates to promote Russia as a tourist destination. Russia is also planning to organize familiarization trips for tour operates in Muslim countries.

The halal program will focus on Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan, Sochi and the towns of the Golden Ring. According to Schegolkova, these cities already have the infrastructure and hotels that can provide halal-friendly services. The list of cities will be expanded over the next few months.

“Earlier, the Russian tourism industry was oriented towards European and American tourists, but now more attention will be paid to tourists from Asia,” Schegolkova says.

In addition to cuisine from Russia’s Muslim regions and internal republics, the program aims to make halal-certified traditional Russian dishes widely available in the country.

8 Rules of Engagement Taught by the Prophet Muhammad

Extremism ‘experts’ are everywhere these days. Assertions thrive about what Shariah law allows, especially when it comes to warfare and ‘Jihad’. Two very unlikely bedfellows, Islamophobes and extremists, have taken up one allegation, that Islam is violent, and run with it. They both misquote Islamic sources to prove their shared fantasies, and to good effect, with media outlets falling over themselves to give them a platform. This convenient lie has become the Blood Libel of the Muslims, which is spread by various groups to achieve their own agendas.

So here is a list of actual rules of engagement taken from Islamic law, together with their original sources. This is what forms the basis of what Muslims believe and follow. These 8 laws expose the ‘Islam is violent’ line as lazy and shamefully dishonest.

N.B. War is unfortunately an inevitable part of civilization and at times sovereign countries need to respond to aggression. Islam allows the use of force to stop evil and bring security to a country’s citizens therefore a set of laws pertaining to war has been laid out by the Prophet Muhammad himself.

What follows are mainstream laws of Islam as taught by the orthodoxy of the religion. This is what the vast majority of Muslims around the world observe as their religion. It does not mean however, that all those who claim to be Muslim actually follow orthodox Shariah laws. Such groups and individuals would rightly be labelled as heretics for inventing new beliefs that run counter to explicit statements found in original sources of Islamic law.

To begin with, all the following laws of war revolve around these overarching statements in the Qur’an that acts as a general rule:

وَقَاتِلُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ الَّذِينَ يُقَاتِلُونَكُمْ وَلاَ تَعْتَدُوا إِنَّ اللَّهَ لاَ يُحِبُّ الْمُعْتَدِينَ

And fight in the way of God those that fight you, but do not transgress,
for indeed God does not like the transgressors. [Qur’an 2: 190]


لاَ ينْهَاكُمُ اللهُ عَنِ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يُقَاتِلُوكُمْ فيِ الدِّينِ وَلَمْ يُخْرِجُوكُم مِّنْ دِيَارِكُمْ أَنْ تَبَرُّوهُمْ وَتُقْسِطُوا إِلَيْهِمْ إَنَّ اللهَ يُحِبُّ المُقْسِطِينَ

God does not prohibit you from showing kindness and being just with those who do not fight you nor have driven you out of your homes. Indeed God loves those who are just. [Qur’an 60: 8]

The first verse forms the basis of all Islamic laws relating to fighting, i.e. you are allowed to fight those that fight you, but not to tyrannize those who have done you no harm. The second one goes further and explains that, not only is fighting innocent civilians forbidden, but Muslims are ordered to be kind and just with those who did no harm to them. It is these verses that inform all other laws of engagement, which are as follows:

1. The prohibition of killing women and children



Anas ibn Malik reports that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) forbade the killing of women and children. [Muslim: 4320]

This instruction of the Prophet became a universally accepted law in Islam, and it has been the practice of the Muslims throughout history. It is because Muslims obeyed this law that we never saw Islamic equivalents of things like the Spanish Inquisition or the slaughter of civilians during the Crusades, even after the Muslims reclaimed Jerusalem.

Or closer to our time, the genocide that Europeans exported to other continents, such as North and South America and Australia, or the widespread slaughter of humans during the 1st and 2nd ‘World War’, which was mainly a European feud. None of these have comparable Muslim examples, and it’s because of the Prophet’s advice.

2. Killing of non-combatants such as old people, monks and workers is explicitly forbidden in Islamic scripture



Ibn Abbas narrates that the Prophet (may peace be upon him) said to an outgoing army, “Leave in the name of God, and upon the way of his messenger. Do not kill any old person”. [Al-Bayhaqi: 16689]

Ibn Abbas also narrates from the Prophet (may peace be upon him) said, “Do not ever kill the people living in towers (i.e. monks). [Nayl al-Awtar: 3324]

Rabah ibn Rabee’ says he left in an expedition with the prophet (peace be upon him), who went up to Khalid ibn Walid [his general] and said “Do not kill the workers / wage earners [i.e. those workers not fighting you]”. [Ahmad: 15562]

The above hadiths are the words of the Prophet himself, explicitly banning the harm of those who fall into the broader classification of non-combatants. These traditions specify that the old who cannot participate in any aggression, the monks who have forsaken any interest in worldly life, and those regular workers that are not involved in politics or war are to be left alone. Furthermore, Muslim scholars have used these traditions to deduce through analogy, that more groups stand protected by Islamic law.

3. The prohibition of hurting the disabled and infirm

The blind, the infirm and the monks are not to be killed according to Islamic legal scholars as they are not from among the combatants, similar to the old person. [Al-Mugni: 7612]

This is the statement of ibn Qudamah, the compiler of Islamic jurisprudence, who can be likened to Maimonides in Judaism or St Augustine in Christianity in terms of their influence and acclaim. Here you can see that he has deduced from the words of the Qur’an and Hadith laws to protect other groups not explicitly mentioned, but are understood through inference. This is stated in the book Al-Mughni, which is described as the ultimate book to Shariah law.

In addition to banning various types of killings, the Prophet goes further to include more restrictions on the way Muslims engage in war.

4. Islam prohibits the mutilation of dead combatants



Sulaiman b. Buraid through his father reports that when the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) appointed anyone as a leader of an army or detachment he would especially exhort him to fear Allah and to be good to the Muslims who were with him. He would say:

“Fight in the name of Allah and in the way of Allah… do not break your pledge; and do not mutilate (the dead) bodies; do not kill the children. [Muslim 4294]

This order is not concerning civilians but dead combatants. The Prophet taught Muslims to respect even dead enemy soldiers who were fighting against the Muslims just before their death. This was when it was common practice among the pagans of Makkah to disfigure dead enemy soldiers after the battle was over. In addition to dead enemy soldiers, there are also clear instructions of how to treat enemy soldiers that are still alive.

5. The Qur’an commands Muslims to show mercy to those combatants who surrender



And if one of the disbelievers surrenders and pleads mercy, then show mercy so that they can hear the words of Allah, and then allow him to go back to his place of safety. [Qur’an 9: 5]

Verses like these are regularly overlooked by both the Islamophobe when they quote certain verses in isolation to the broader message of the Qur’an, as well as extremists who try to convince Muslims that Islam demands merciless violence and claim that anyone who disagrees are not real Muslims.

In fact, the most popularly quoted verse used to make Islam appear uber violent is, “And fight them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out” [Qur’an 2: 192]. This verse comes straight after the one quoted in the beginning of this article, (“And fight in the way of God those that fight you, but do not transgress”). However when taken on its own, without looking at what proceeded it, “them” in this verse could be understood as anyone and everyone, not just “those fighting you”.

So Islamophobes and extremists seem to misquote the same verses and choose to ignore the same ones, arguing the same lazy lie. Unfortunately for them, the sources of Islamic law say otherwise.

6. Treatment of prisoners of war

And they give food, in spite of their love for it (or for the love of Him), to the Miskeen (the poor), the orphan, and the captive, (Saying): ‘We feed you seeking Allaah’s Countenance only. We wish for no reward, nor thanks from you”. [Qur’an 76:8-9]

Ibn ‘Abbas said: in those days their prisoners were mushrikeen (polytheists; on the day of Badr the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) commanded them to be kind to their prisoners, so they used to put them before themselves when it came to food… Mujahid said, this refers to the one who is detained, i.e., they would give food to these prisoners even though they themselves desired it and loved it. [Tafsir ibn Kathir: Al-Insan]

In Islam, prisoners of war are treated with dignity and care. Islam introduced such rules of war 1400 years ago while the Geneva convention only decided to outlaw torture in 1977. And just like the clear cut rulings of Islam have had no affect on the actions of terror groups that claim to be Muslim, similarly the Geneva convention has not stemmed the torture and abuse by western nations in recent history.

7. Even the cutting of trees, destroying surroundings and killing animals without reason is illegal


Abu Bakr said, “I advise you, do not cut the fruitful trees, or destroy homes. And do not wound the sheep, goats or cattle except to for eating”. [Al-Muwatta: 949]

This ruling, as ordered by the first and most important of the rightly-guided Caliphs sets the precedence for Muslim army conduct in foreign lands. This statement is part of a longer speech delivered to Muslim army generals who were about to set off for war against the Roman empire. There is no ‘shock and awe’ tactics which armies new and old employ, where infrastructure and civilian populations are terrorised into surrendering.

8. There can be no forced conversion


Let there be no compulsion in religion – Truth stands out clear from Error! Whoever rejects evil and believes in God has grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah hears and knows all things. [Quran 2: 256]

As concise an instruction as can be; this one verse has stopped any attempt by Muslim armies to try and force people to accept Islam. Although Islam is indeed a missionary religion that seeks to win over followers, forced conversions are not counted.

There can never be a Spanish Inquisition in Islam. Simply because it won’t count. Islam can only be spread through argument and debate, and it can only be embraced through sincere acceptance of the facts. So no, Islam did not, and could not have spread through the sword.

So there you have it, the rules of engagement of Islam, straight from words of the Prophet Muhammad and Shariah Law. It doesn’t sound nearly as bad as either the right-wing media or an ignorant extremist would have you think, right? That’s because there is a big difference between mainstream beliefs and practices of Islam which have been set in stone for 1400 years, and lazy tabloid readings of isolated quotes.

One thing is for sure, the Islamophobes who declare Islam to be barbaric, and the isolated extremists dreaming up their own versions of Islam, are two sides of the same coin. They both benefit from twisting scripture, and they both stand condemned as frauds when presented with the evidence of holistic readings of the sources of Islamic Law. With this knowledge at hand, you stand better equipped than 99% of the so-called experts out there, so use this information and spread it. Hopefully we will soon see a tide of unemployed ‘extremism experts’ lining up outside the job centre, where our trusted DWP will help them find real jobs.

By Mahmud Shahnawaz

Rating system to intensify campaign for halal-friendly tourism practices

DAVAO CITY — The Department of Tourism (DoT) has solicited the services of a Singapore-based accreditation body to look into the readiness of Philippine establishments for halal tourism.

Crescent Rating, which provides various services related to halal-friendly travel including a globally recognized rating standard, will undertake the initial assessment this year for free.

“(Crescent Rating) will do it free of charge,” said DoT Assistant Secretary Arturo P. Boncato, Jr.

The invitation to Crescent Rating for assistance is part of the partnership between the DoT and the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) that was initiated in August to address issues related to the development of the halal industry in the Philippines, particularly where it intersects with tourism.

During the initial DoT-NCMF meeting, Tourism Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez, Jr. proposed that halal issues in the Philippines “should not be tackled as a principle but must be project-oriented.”

“The impetus in the development of the halal industry should be economic rather than cultural. There should be financial inducements, subsidy with pay-out schemes. This way, we will have no difficulty convincing the other sectors to support our initiatives. As a matter of fact, with this scheme, when they see the opportunities present in this industry, they will readily involve themselves,” Mr. Jimenez said as quoted by the NCMF.

Mr. Boncato said halal tourism is the “fastest growing tourism segment in the world” with a global market value, based on international estimates, of $145 billion.

“The Philippines, however, is not even on the radar,” Mr. Boncato told BusinessWorld.

“Our visitors from the Middle East, from ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and from all over the world who embrace the Islamic faith get hungry when they come (to the Philippines) because there are even no halal-certified restaurants at the airports,” he added.

Mr. Boncato said Crescent Rating will be using its checklist of indicators to see the level of halal-compliance in certain tourism establishments in the country.

Under the DoT-NCMF project, the cities of Manila, Makati, Cebu and Davao have been identified as possible pilot areas where halal-certified establishments will be listed by April this year.

NCMF Secretary, Yasmin Busran-Lao said: “It is time that efforts on developing and promoting halal must be seen in tangibles. The many guests coming from the Arab and other Muslim countries who are visiting the country would always look for halal establishments. And it is quite uncomfortable when they can find no halal establishments here for their needs. Despite the large Muslim population there is difficulty in finding halal food and a place to perform Islamic prayers.”

At a conference held in Davao City in October last year, tourism industry stakeholders identified halal tourism as one of the key growth areas.

An estimated 350,000 visitors from Islamic countries visited the Philippines last year.

Optimistic outlook for Halal Industry in 2016

Approximately 25 per cent of the world’s population is Muslim and it is evident that there are segments of global markets that adhere to their religious requirements.

Halal, an Arabic word defined as permissible according to Islamic law, is required in the consumption of both goods and services for Muslims.

The halal industry is a rapidly expanding sector not only in the food and beverage market but also in many other markets including cosmetics and healthcare.

Halal products are found worldwide but the most rapid expansion is being seen in mainland Europe and the US. Halal has thus become a global market force that spans into meat and poultry, food manufacturing, food retailing, restaurant chains, food service industry, logistics and shipping, Islamic banking and finance, standards/auditing/certifications, science and new technologies and personal care products.


Basic requirements to be considered halal for consumer products

While most products such as food, beverages, pharmaceuticals and beauty and personal care products can entail a halal label, clothing and footwear are an exception, and for services only food service can acquire a physical halal certification.

Although this is the case, it is still necessary for Muslims to lead the halal way of life, which means ensuring their consumption, behaviour, dressing, social interactions and every other aspect is aligned with Islamic beliefs.

Forbidden ingredients of halal foods include animals that are dead or dying prior to slaughter, blood and blood byproducts, carnivorous animals, birds of prey, land animals without external ears, animals killed in the name of anything other than Allah.

From a Muslim consumer standpoint, products are deemed halal when they are produced without any forbidden ingredients, be proven to be in the interest of the consumer’s health and wellbeing, must be clean, hygienic and have supply chain integrity.

They must also benefit the community from which they came and all ingredients must be traceable at each stage of production.

Some global trends in the halal industry

According to a Thomson Reuters report, halal food made up nearly 17 per cent  of the total world food market in 2013.  And according to a report commissioned by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, the global halal market would be worth US$1.6 trillion (RM6.8 trillion) by 2018, an increase from US$1.1 trillion in 2013 and growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.9 per cent.

The focus imposed on the halal industry in the Middle East is quite notable in the recent times. The UAE is preparing to cater for the growing demand as the UAE government has recently announced setting up of a “Halal Cluster”, a 6.7 million square feet land in Dubai Industrial City, for firms dealing in halal food, cosmetics, and personal care items.

Methods of discovering “haram impurities” in products are rapidly improving. Now, the type of animals that the raw materials are derived from can be identified using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) ― an advanced molecular biotechnology technique that emerged in the 1980s and evolved into a very sophisticated piece of technology for multiple applications.

The PCR has the potential to greatly improve halal integrity, allowing the development of halal supply chains and product tracking.

Malaysia is the global hub of the halal industry and has set up institutions to determine efficacy of halal, deal with the issues of its standards and certification.

These include Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia (JAKIM) and the Halal Development Corporation (HDC). Malaysia is a leading exporter of pure Islamic products to Muslim countries, China and Western countries where there is large presence of Muslim population.

While Malaysia is in the lead, the other drivers in the South-east Asia (SEA) region include Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Brunei, Philippines and China. It is notable that the cultural diversity of SEA as well as emerging diversities in other regions of the world has led to strict halal standards.

The multi-cultural complexion of SEA has stimulated the development of the world’s most advanced halal standards and certification agencies. This has given rise to an industry of halal certification created to attempt to verify any issues that may arise when considering the true definition of halal products.

The presence of certifying agencies is varied across the world. However, with a variety of international disagreements, unique challenges and varying halal development in each country, a unified halal hub remains the ideal goal for the halal industry.

Muslim government-approved certification bodies could enhance a country’s reliability and accreditation. SEA seems to have taken the lead due to the top three globally recognised certifying bodies within it, and many neighbouring countries are building their eco-systems to achieve similar recognition and reliability.

How can technology help the global halal industry?

As was mentioned above, some technologies such as PCR can enhance halal integrity in foods and beverages as well as in personal care products. As such, there are many existing technologies that can be adopted or newly developed solely for the global halal industry.

Halal technologies include personal devices for checking halal  integrity, for traceability, in conducting site audits for compliance and in transportation.

High technology can significantly boost this emerging trillion-dollar market and such technologies can be developed and deployed for the benefit of this market.

What’s next?

To further support this growing industry and further helping Halal SMEs and Muslim Entrepreneurs to develop their innovations for halal-related applications.  There is a need to support and develop an application of high technology in halal industry.


Socially Responsible Investing – An Opportunity for Islamic Finance

Report by Malaysia International Financial Centre Report

Islamic Finance and Socially Responsible Investing

Ethical, equitable, social and sustainable investments are all synonymous to both Islamic finance and Socially Responsible Investing (SRI). In both instances, investors seek to achieve a strong return on their investments; and similarly, to take into account the social returns and society. Therefore understanding the scope of SRI and Islamic finance are essential in order to match the available opportunities.

Islamic finance is embedded on the principles of fairness, equality and ethics that lead to social well-being. It seeks social justice and economic prosperity of the society and encourages sustainable economic activity.

Islamic finance come from fundamental requirements set by principles of the Islamic law. Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) has a similar rationale. SRI is sometimes referred to as “sustainable”, “socially conscious”, “mission,” “green” or “ethical” investing. In general, socially responsible investors are guided by an ethical or moral code for ESG investments.
Islamic finance could broaden its investor portfolio by connecting these overlapping core values to access the large amount of SRI funds available in global markets. In some markets, it is clear that momentum is being built towards realizing the connectivity of Islamic funds with the global socially responsible investment funds which stands at about USD3.7tln.

In 2014, climate themed bonds were estimated to total approximately USD502.6bln globally (an exponential jump from USD174bln in 2012). Estimates record that nearly USD10tln in cumulative capital investments will be moved towards low carbon energy alone between 2010 and 2020.4 Furthermore, over 1,300 signatories to the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (UN PRI) represent over USD45tln in managed assets (from USD4tln in 2006). In relation to these figure, Islamic finance remains a niche area that can benefit from broadening its horizon to tap into socially conscious investments. This will appeal and attract both Islamic capital as well as a wider global interest. Therefore understanding the scope of SRI is pivotal for Islamic finance practitioners to match the segment opportunity available in the SRI space.


Download Full Report below:


ABS-CBN News team ambushed in Marawi

ILIGAN CITY – Members of ABS-CBN News Iligan were ambushed by motorcycle-riding gunmen in Bangolo, Marawi City past noon Saturday.

Reporter Ronnie Enderes, cameraman Emilito Balansag and driver Gary Montecillo were all able to escape unharmed.

According to Enderes, gunmen on board two motorcycles were involved in the incident. One of the back riders fired at the driver’s side, hitting the door but missing the driver. Another fired at the passenger’s side but the billet just grazed the lower portion of the vehicle.

The team was traveling back to Iligan City from Ramain, Lanao del Sur where they covered the bombing of a National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) tower in Barangay Linamon.

Enderes added that upon entering Marawi, they already noticed that motorcycle-riding individuals were suspiciously following them, prompting the team to take an alternate route. Upon reaching Bangolo, however, the team already heard two successive gunshots.

The driver managed to rush to Camp Ranao of the Army’s 103rd Brigade where they sought temporary protection.

Marawi Police recovered from the crime scene two empty shells of .45 caliber pistol. Police said another tandem on board a third motorcycle was involved in the incident, based on the testimony of witnesses.

Police are still investigating which lawless elements were involved in the incident.

DOST’s science and tech fair highlights industry benefits to Mindanao

MANILA, Dec. 22 (PIA) — The Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST) Science and Technology (S&T) Fair for the Mindanao Cluster got underway in Zamboanga City from December 3-5, 2015 with focus on S&T’s impacts on the rubber, mining and food industries, including halal.

The fair showcased the many benefits of DOST’s Small Enterprise Upgrading Program or SETUP via project visits to program beneficiaries Philippine Pioneer Rubber Product Corp. (PPRPC) and Monmon Bakeshoppe and Snack Haus in Zamboanga.

Organized in 2000 as a federation of six agrarian reform communities, PPRPC provides milling services to rubber-producing cooperatives, rubber farmers and traders. With SETUP’s assistance, the company has increased production by 25%, provided better quality and faster service to rubber farmers and traders, became compliant to ISO 2000 quality standards, and generated 23 additional employment from 127 to 150 employees.

Monmon Bakeshoppe was also given assistance through upgrading of the bakery facility to meet the growing demand of customers. It increased gross sales by 11.3%, upgraded its product packaging, and now employs eight additional employees aside from the previous five regular workers.

The S&T Fair also saw the launching of various DOST initiatives, such as the rubber testing laboratory inside the DOST Region IX compound at Pettit Barracks in Zamboanga City, as well as the Food Innovation Center in Northern Mindanao located at the Mindanao University of Science and Technology in Cagayan de Oro City which will serve as a hub for innovation of food products.

Also launched was the Halal Laboratory at the DOST Compound in Cotabato City. The facility is projected to increase the integrity of locally made halal products and give credibility to certifying bodies, local halal product manufacturers, producers, and processors for local and international trading.

The Complementary Food Production for the CARAGA Region was also rolled out, featuring food technologies by the DOST’s Food and Nutrition Research Institute. These are the Rice-Mongo Curls, a nutritious snack made from rice flour and mongo flour; and the Rice-Mongo Baby Food Blend, a ready-to-eat baby food. These technologies are part of DOST’s strategies to meet the Philippines’ Millennium Development Goals, namely, to reduce by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger and to solve the persistent problem of malnutrition among 0-5 year-old children.

Another launching held was that for Better Mine, a DOST and University of the Philippines collaboration for the mining industry. Better Mine eliminates the use of mercury and cyanide, thus promoting a non-hazardous and environment-friendly method to extract gold in the Philippines for small-scale mining applications through integrated gold-copper mineral processing. It can increase gold recovery from 40-50% to 80%, recover other valuable minerals like copper and zinc, has a tailings disposal and treatment system, a flexible operation, as well as low capital and operating expenses for small-scale miners.

“With DOST, with the help of the science and technology agenda, we Filipinos must chart our own course guided by the principle that what we do ultimately benefits Aling Maria and Mang Juan, that science is being felt by the people,” said Dr. Rowena Cristina L. Guevara, undersecretary for S&T services of DOST during the S&T fair opening ceremony.

A Sci-Tech Campus Journalism Training-Workshop, research forum, and exhibit, were also held, among others. (Ma. Lotuslei P. Dimagiba, S&T Media Service, DOST-STII/PIA-Caraga)

World’s First Halal Vaccine Plant To Begin Production In Early 2018

KUALA LUMPUR: The world’s first halal vaccine facility with gross development value (GDV) of RM330 million in Bandar Enstek will put Malaysia as an international player on the vaccine map, once operational in early 2018.

Dr Tabassum Khan, Managing director of AJ Pharma Holding Sdn Bhd, the owner of facility, said the plant would be developed by GB Asiatic Ventures Sdn Bhd and its strategic partner, China Machinery Engineering Corp (CMEC).

He said the “formulation, fill and finish state-of-the-art facility” placed under AJ Biologics Sdn Bhd was expected to produce over 1,000 vaccines in the country, five years from now.

“With this facility, it will be easier and quicker to export vaccines produced from Malaysia than other neighbouring countries in the region, as the country is also a member of the Pharmaceutical Inspection Corporation Scheme (PICS).

“In Western Asia, none of the countries is a member of PICS, so when we were invited to set up the facility by the Malaysian government, it was a win-win strategy for both parties as we wanted to expand and the government wants to have its own homegrown vaccines,” Dr Tabassum told Bernama.

To kick start construction in March 2016, the facility which is sited on a 1.82-hectare land will cater 25 per cent of its production to fulfil the needs of the Malaysian vaccine market.

It will produce all basic types of vaccines for children as well as specialised vaccines for immunisation programmes.

“About 75 per cent of the production will be exported, which will reduce Malaysia’s direct imports on vaccines while at the same time creating more job opportunities for the locals within the plant site,” he said.

AJ Pharma Holding is a subsidiary of Al-Jomaih Group and was established to focus on investments in the healthcare and biotechnology sectors in Malaysia and the surrounding region.

The group is among the top 10 conglomerates in Saudi Arabia with a revenue about US$3 billion (RM12.9 billion) in the kingdom, and it has committed to invest up to RM500 million in Malaysia’s halal pharmaceutical and healthcare industry.

Businesses urged to tap $2-Trillion halal market

PHILIPPINE businesses, especially food manufacturers, are encouraged to get certified to capture into the huge $2-trillion halal industry and increase their share of the market.

DTI-department-of-trade-and-IndustryGlenn Peñaranda, commercial counselor of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-Foreign Trade Service Corps, said the halal market has been growing, owing to rising awareness about the halal concept and rising disposable income of majority of Muslim countries. 

Peñaranda also cited the rapid growth of the Muslim population, which is projected to comprise 26 percent of world population by 2030.

As of 2010, Muslims worldwide reached 1.6 billion, of which 252 million were in Asean.

He identified key halal markets as Indonesia, Malaysia, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member-countries, North African countries, Pakistan and other Middle Eastern countries.

Other key halal markets in non-Muslim countries include India, China, European countries, the Americas and South Africa.

Apart from food products, Peñaranda said halal also covers pharmaceuticals, fashion and services such as finance, tourism and logistics.

To seize these business opportunities, he advised local businesses to secure halal certification by a credible halal-certifying body recognized by the importing country.

In the Philippines, Peñaranda said the number of certified companies has reached 514.

PhilExport News

Vaping is Haram, Malaysia National Fatwa Council rules

SEPANG: The National Fatwa Council has ruled that smoking electronic cigarettes or vaping is forbidden, says its chairman, Prof Emeritus Tan Sri Dr Abdul Shukor Husin.

He disclosed this after the Special Muzakarah (Conference) of the Fatwa Committee of the National Council for Islamic Religious Affairs in Malaysia here last night.

He said the decision was made after taking into consideration all aspects, including from the point of view of syariah (Islamic law), medical and scientific which found electronic cigarettes were wasteful and harmful to health.

“Two papers in connection with the health and syariah aspects were presented today,” he added.

The muzakarah was also attended by state muftis, deputy muftis and members appointed by the Conference of Rulers.

Abdul Shukor said studies from the health point of view were also taken into account, through information obtained from the World Health Organisation which had collected information on the effects of vaping worldwide.

“In fact, health experts also found that vape and electronic cigarettes could not help smokers and heavy smokers to quit smoking,” he said.

Abdul Shukor said the edict was issued based on the ‘Qaedah Saad al-Zarala’ method, namely to prevent something far more worse in the future.

He said the use of electronic cigarettes and vape could be equated with smoking conventional cigarettes, which contained a variety of toxic substances.

“Local authorities or the governments can decide on the banning of vape if there is public interest and benefits.

“Tonight’s decision is also in line with the opinions of several other Muslim countries including Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.”

In line with the decision made, Abdul Shukor also recommended other states to follow the decision decreed by the National Fatwa Council. — Bernama

Malaysia’s first Shariah-compliant airline launched

KUALA LUMPUR — Malaysia’s first Shariah-compliant airline Rayani Air is scheduled to begin operations tomorrow (Dec 20), with its maiden flight from klia2 here to its home base in Langkawi.

Local broadcaster Astro Awani reported Rayani Air managing director Jaafar Zamhari as saying that the airline, which he said is full service like national carrier Malaysia Airlines, only serves halal food and does not serve alcohol.

“It is compulsory for our Muslim women cabin crew to wear hijab and for non-Muslim to wear a decent uniform,” Mr Jaafar was quoted saying at a press conference yesterday.

“We also recite doa (prayers) before the departure of each flight, we have a ‘no-alcohol’ policy, and we provide food and beverages that are halal,” he added.

Mr Jaafar also reportedly said Rayani Air was not a low-cost carrier nor was it a hybrid airline, despite a description about the airline on its website that called it the “latest low cost carrier from Malaysia that puts the customers first”.

According to Mr Jaafar, Rayani Air will, for a start, fly to Langkawi, Kuala Lumpur, Kota Bharu, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu.

10 Cebu hotels to pilot government halal project

The Department of Tourism (DOT) has identified 10 hotels and resorts in Cebu that will participate in the pilot implementation of a project that aims to make tourism establishments halal-certified.

These are Maribago Bluewater Beach Resort, Cebu City Marriott Hotel, Cebu Parklane Hotel, Costabella Tropical Beach Resort, Crimson Resort and Spa, Marco Polo Hotel, Movenpick, Radisson Blu Cebu, Shangri-la Mactan Resort and Spa, and Waterfront Cebu Hotel and Casino.

Halal refers to food that Muslims are allowed to eat under Islamic law.

DOT Regional Director Rowena Montecillo said the Cebu hotels are among 50 establishments that will take part in the pilot implementation of the project from December 2015 to February 2016.

Other participants are 20 establishments from Metro Manila, 10 from Boracay and 10 from Metro Davao.

Montecillo presented the project to the Central Visayas Regional Development Council last Friday.

She said participating establishments will be given incentives, including construction and retro-fitting of facilities, purchase of equipment and materials, halal certification, provision of training, and inclusion of the establishments in the Philippine halal tourism project information campaign.


Montecillo said 7 percent, or 348,970 tourists, of the total number of visitor arrivals in the Philippines last year were from Arab and Muslim countries.

These tourists require halal-certified food and drinks.

“This forms our base market for halal services, not yet adding those markets with special dietary restrictions. The objective of the project is to make the Philippines a Muslim-ready destination,” Montecillo said.

With the project, she said the Philippines hopes to get a share of the trillion-dollar global halal industry.

By making more establishments and accommodations halal-certified, the Philippines can accommodate more tourists who have specific dietary needs, she added.

Prior to implementation, DOT presented the plan to the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) and a DOT-NCMF technical working group was created.

The group will formulate the implementation guidelines for the project.

The Lanao Provinces: The Birthplace of Federalism in the Philippines


In 1920 120 Sultans and 30 Datus belonging to the Pat Pangampong Ranao (the Confederation of Sultanates of Lanao) wrote the United States President requesting that should the U.S. government eventually make the Philippines a Commonwealth and then a Republic, Lanao as a Province choses not to be part of it. They still would like to be part of the U.S.-perhaps as a State or a Protectorate. The reason behind this strange request is very simple-the Pat Pangampong Ranao is fully aware that the eventual Philippine Republic to be formed at that time would be a Unitary set-up, something which the Confederation does not like, since the Confederation is a Federal set-up-and only a Federal Government like the United State of America could understand another Federal government, hence the request.

Another option which they presented (should the U.S. reject the first option) was that the Sultanates be considered a separate Nation from the Philippines, to be known as the Bangsamoro-again for obvious reasons-they want to be a Federal Nation not a Unitary one. This is because the Pangampong Ranao had a highly decentralized form of government unlike the Sulu and Maguindanao Sultanates.

As history will show such requests has been denied. Much to the frustration of the Lanao Confederation. The move of the Pangampong was known as the “Dansalan Declaration”.


In 1935, Iligan City, was the only City in the Country which did not signed the 1935 Constitution. The reason behind this is because our Lone Delegate to the 1935 Constitutional Assembly, Senator Tomas Lluisma Cabili, wanted a Federal set-up for our Country while the rest of the other 221 delegates wanted a Unitary set-up-which was largely championed by then Senate President Manuel L. Quezon.

Tomas Cabili1

Tomas Cabili thundered his opposition to a Unitary set up-on several grounds- that it would make Malacanang very powerful and therefore become dictatorial, he knew that a Unitary set-up would dissipate the economic advantages of Iligan and the Lanao provinces-which is the source of abundant water and power and that the 1935 Constitution only protected the rights of the Christian majority but not the Muslims and the Lumads-it showed no respect for their culture and values as a people.

Tomas Cabili argued for almost half a day in the august assembly, citing that since the envisioned 1935 Constitution was patterned after America, then we should be a Federal set-up-a position which was turned down by the majority.  For him human dignity can only come when there is subsidiarity-a time honored principle of the Catholic faith.

His parting words to the assembly after he argued his case was very prophetic:

“Gentlemen of this august constitutional assembly, Mr. Senate President…. if you make this Government and this Constitution a Unitary set-up-there will be war in Mindanao!”

And that was 1935.

Tomas Cabili was a student and an honored member of the Pat Pangampong Ranao, where he was proudly enthroned by the Maranao Tribe as Sultan Dimasangkay or the Great Sultan.

Today we have proven that the wisdom of the Lone delegate from Lanao is true.

And the rest is history.

Truly the seeds of Federalism was born in Lanao.

And if only Iligan and Lanao knew its history, we could have been part of the historic signing at Malacanang between our Government and the MILF last October 16, 2012. That GRP-MILF signing prove the wisdom of Iligan in 1935. We have gone full circle back to our original position-at the cost of so much lives and properties. This Nation should have listened to Iligan and Lanao.

Maayung Iligan!!  (May Iligan be a blessing to you!!)

Source: ( ) Written by Aji Garbanzos

Obama bans non-halal meat in prisons

Federal inmates with cravings for bacon wrapped tenderloin must now fork over their own money for crispy pork rinds or dried jerky from the commissary, following a recent decision by the Obama administration to remove all pork meats from the national prison menu. The federal Bureau of Prisons, which runs 122 federal penitentiaries and provides three meals a day to 206,000 inmates, instituted the pork ban with the start of the new fiscal year last month, the Washington Post reported.

The decision was based on a survey of prisoners’ food preferences that found most inmates don’t like the taste of the “other white meat,” prison officials said. But the nation’s pork producers are not buying that explanation and see it as an economic risk to the industry.

“Why keep pushing food that people don’t want to eat?” Edmond Ross, spokesman for the prison bureau, told the Post. “Pork has been the lowest-rated food by inmates for several years” and got more expensive for the government to buy, Ross added.

The National Pork Producers Council, which represents the nation’s hog farmers, said it was outraged by the decision and planned to mount an effort to reverse it. “I find it hard to believe that a survey would have found a majority of any population saying, ‘No, thanks, I don’t want any bacon,’” Dave Warner, spokesman for the Washington-based pork council, told the Post. “We wouldn’t rule out any options to resolve this.”

A national Muslim civil rights organization has praised the move as one that accommodates a wider array of faith traditions among inmates, including observant Muslims who are forbidden from consuming pork. “In general we welcome the change because it’s facilitating the accommodation of Muslim inmates,” Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told the Post. “We hope it’s not an indication of an increasing number of Muslims in the prison system.”

Hooper added that anti-Islam groups would seek to spin the government’s decision into a case of mounting pressure from Muslims. “This is just the kind of thing that drives them crazy,” he said. “It will stoke the fires of Islamophobia based on the usual conspiracy theories.”

ARMM celebrates Science and Technology Week

COTABATO CITY – The Department of Science and Technology of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (DOST-ARMM) formally launched here the region’s celebration of the 2015 National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) on Thursday.

The event features DOST-ARMM’s biggest and latest breakthroughs, programs, and interventions in the fields of agriculture, enterprise development, industry competitiveness, information technology, e-government, healthcare, education and disaster preparedness.

This year’s theme is “Philippines: A Science Nation Innovating for Global Competitiveness.”

Myra Mangkabung, DOST-ARMM Secretary, said the celebration depicts the vision and dream of science and technology community to keep abreast with global economic integration through innovation.

DOST-ARMM awarded 11 Science and Technology Ambassadors in the fields of research and development, education, infrastructure, policy and advocacy, and governorship for their outstanding contribution and support in the development of science and technology in the region.

The ambassadors are Sulog Bra, PhD, professor at the Mindanao State University– Maguindanao; Filemon G. Romero, PhD; Yusop T. Alano, provincial board member of Basilan; Hon. Abdelrazi A. Amin, municipal councilor of Jolo, Sulu; and chairperson of Philippine Councilors League – ARMM; Hon. Cahar P. Ibay, assemblyman of the 1st District of Maguindanao; Jumelita B. Romero, PhD.; Hon. Janimah D. Pandi, representative of the 1st District of Lanao del Sur; Atty. Leonardo R. Reyes, chancellor of MSU – Tawi-Tawi College of Technology and Oceanography; Hon. Mujiv S. Hataman, regional governor of ARMM; Sitti Djalia Turabin-Hataman, Anak Mindanao partylist representative; and Ahmed Ibn “Amin” Turabin Hataman.

Parallel to the celebration is the 2015 ARMM Regional Invention Contest and Exhibits (RICE), a nationwide activity conducted in different regions to recognize the creativity of Filipino inventors in the country. RICE serves as the qualifying round for the National Invention Contests and Exhibit in July 2016.

The DOST- Technology Application and Promotion Institute (TAPI) oversees the invention contests. Engr. Edgar I Garcia, director of DOST-TAPI, said the invention contests serve as the avenue “to acknowledge the indispensability of Filipino inventors in the Philippine society and in the landscape of national economic development.”

On Friday, October 9, the first ARMM Halal Congress will be held as part of NSTW. The congress will feature an exhibit of halal-certified products in the region as well as a forum highlighting updates on halal technology and industry.

There will be speakers from Malaysia who will tackle the global halal industry as well as halal research and development. Other expected speakers are Director Anthony Sales of DOST-XI and Director Brenda Manzano of DOST-IX.

Raymund Liboro, DOST central office assistant secretary for climate change and disaster risk reduction, graced Thursday’s event. Aristotle Carandang, DOST – Science and Technology Information Institute director, ARMM’s Chief of Staff Rasul Mitmug, and partylist representative Sitti Djalia Turabin-Hataman were also present.

The Lakad Agham (Scientific parade) on Saturday concluded the three-day celebration.(Bureau of Public Information)