National Commission on Muslim Filipinos Act of 2009 or the Republic Act 9997 (Article II, Section 8, Paragraph H) mandates the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) to promote and develop the Philippine Halal Industry and accredit Halal Certifying Entities/Bodies (HCB/Es) for the utmost benefit of Muslim Filipinos and in partnership or cooperation with appropriate agencies, individuals and institutions here and abroad.
Last January 30, 2013, NCMF just launched or activated The New Philippine Halal Development, Promotion and Accreditation Board or the Philippine “Halal Board” and set the Criteria and Guidelines for the Accreditation of Halal Certification Bodies/Entities in the Philippines.
Halal is an Arabic word meaning lawful or permissible. It refers to the foods, products and services that are permitted by Islamic Shariah law. To have this products and services to have a Unified Philippine Halal Logo, it must undergo a standard and rigid halal testing process that will be set by the Philippine Halal Board of NCMF like chemical laboratory testing to verify that it has no haram substances like pork and others.
The launched program started around 1:30pm with registration, prayer and national anthem and then a Opening Remarks/Presentation of Members of the Halal Board by Secretary Mehol K. Sadain who is also the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NCMF.
Halal Board is composed by:
- Secretary Mehol K. Sadain
- Commissioner Edilwasif T. Baddiri
- Commissioner Mirkarl T. Allian
- Commissioner Esmael W. Ebrahim
- Executive Director
- Director, Bureau of Legal Affairs
- Director, Bureau External Affairs
And then The Keynote Message of the Launching of Halal Board is delivered by His Excellency Dato’ Mohd. Zamri Mohd Kassim, Ambassador of Malaysia to the Philippines.
Then a Presentation of the Criteria and Guidelines for Halal Accreditation by Director Kim A. Edres, Project Director of Halal Board.
The launching program is ended by a Closing /Remarks and Invocation by Commissioner Esmail W. Ebrahim, Commissioner-in-Charge of NCMF Halal Program.
Hopefully the Halal Board will soon process HCB/Es applications for accreditation. Project Director of Halal Board, Director Kim Edres said that it will soon meet the NGOs nor HCB/Es to tackle the accreditation then it will issue accreditation to the qualified group.
The following list of NGO are known accredited Halal Certifiers based in the Philippines but will be re-applying for accreditation because of the new Criteria and Guidelines set by the Halal Board:
- Islamic Da’wah Council of the Philippines (IDCP)
- Ulama Conference of the Philippines
- Philippine Aw’qaf & Zakat Foundation, Inc.
- Revival and Propagation of Islamic Heritage Foundation, Inc.
- Knowledge Institute and Islamic Culture, Inc.
- Ulama League of the Philippines
- Sabiel Al-Mohtadeen Foundation, Inc.
- Philippine Ulama Congress Organization, Inc.
- Regional Halal Fatwa Council XII, Inc.
- Mindanao Halal Authority
- Muslim Mindanao Halal Certification Board, Inc.
- National Ulama Council, Inc. – Halal Fatwa Committee
- Halal Food and Nutrition Council Philippines, Inc.
- Halal Development Institute of the Philippines
There are many HCB/Es engage in halal certification of products and services as Shar’iah compliant but there’s no assurance that this HCB/Es or NGOs are performing their obligation and duty to Muslim consumers because of the absence of government agencies to regulate and verify if the halal-certified products and services are really halal and not contaminated.
Hopefully this new Halal Board will protect the Muslim consumers from “fly-by-night” HCB/Es and some corrupt HCB/Es and NCMF officers that issuing halal certifications are now “For Sale”, where it’s not really halal product and services of companies in exchange for some money or bribes.
To avoid this malpractices and corruption in halal certifications, NCMF pass a Resolution No. 46, Series of 2011 – Approving the Criteria and Guidelines for the Accreditation of Halal Certification Bodies/Entities in the Philippines.
Halal Certifying Bodies/Entities (HCB/Es) or NGOs applying for accreditation must:
- Be a Muslim organization duly registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or any appropriate agency of the government for at least three (3) years before applying for accreditation;
- Have specific objective of engaging in Halal certification in its Constitution and By-Laws;
- Have at least one (1) Shari’ah expert or a Council of Ulama in its active membership, who is directly involved in the rendering of decision whether a certain product is Halal or not;
- Have a signatory to the Halal certificates who is a reputable ulama who possesses a degree in Shari’ah Law;
- Have NO derogatory record with any court or any concerned regulatory agencies of the government;
- Have an existing office with necessary manpower complement and equipment and facilities as well as an operating organizational structure;
- Have Muslim food technologists, microbiologists, chemists either as regular members or consultants;
- Must have personnel who have formal training on Halal monitoring and inspection;
- Must have a Halal laboratory or access to government-recognized Halal laboratories that is evidenced by an existing and valid agreement, e.g. Memorandum of Agreement (MOA);
- Must have an existing guidelines and procedures on certification of Halal food and non-food products that generally conforms with the unified Halal Certification Scheme;
- Comply with other requirements as may be required by the Halal Board.
Duties and Responsibilities of the accredited HCB/Es must and shall:
- conform with the approved Philippine Halal Standards;
- adopt the unified Halal Certification Scheme;
- be responsible in declaring the Halalness of products being certified Halal;
- issue Halal Certificates to qualified companies or manufacturers;
- adopt the common Philippine Halal Logo;
- allow designated officials and/or technical staff of the NCMF and its partner agencies to conduct audit on its operations, particularly on Halal Certification Monitoring System on unannounced yet reasonable schedules;
- implement its own monitoring systems and procedures to ensure Halal compliance by companies or manufacturers that were issued Halal certificates, thereby ensuring integrity of the Halal-certified products;
- submit quarterly and updated report on the status of Halal products it has certified as well as monitoring report on concerned processing plants or areas and abattoirs;
- immediately inform the NCMF on any change in the organization such as personnel, structure, or operation procedures;
- immediately inform the NCMF on any operational or physical change in the plant or company that it has issued a Halal certificate;
- inform manufacturers that NCMF teams and its partner agencies will conduct follow through audit on plants and establishments that are producing or manufacturing Halal products as certified by the body/entity;
- allow designated audit teams from the NCMF and its partner agencies to conduct random sampling, analysis and laboratory testing of Halal certified products in the market as certified by the body/entity for revalidation of the Halalness of the products;
Fees and Charges
Halal Certifying Bodies/Entities (HCB/Es) or NGOs applying for accreditation must pay a fees or charge for an amount of Ten Thousand Pesos (PHP 10,000) lowered from Thirty Thousand Pesos (PHP 30,000) thru passing an amendment NCMF Resolution No. 47, Series of 2012, if the application for accreditation is approved. The body/entity seeking for accreditation shall also be responsible for the cost of audit on its office and actual operations that shall be incurred by the Audit Team of the Halal Board. The cost shall particularly cover transportation, either by air or land or both and the food and accommodation of the said Audit Team that shall be composed of not less than two (2) but not more than four (4) personnels.
Unified Philippine Halal Logo
The NCMF thru it’s Halal Board finalize a unified New Philippine Halal logo.
The Philippine Halal Logo as illustrated must be commonly adopted by all accredited Halal certification bodies/entities or (HCB/Es). It shall be printed on every Halal-certified product with the acronym of the concerned certification body/entity printed beneath the logo.
For the past years, the Philippine Muslim consumers are confused to many Halal logo in the Philippine markets. Even until now, there’s some companies still using the defunct Office of Muslim Affairs (OMA) Halal logo. And even the companies who wants their products to be halal certified are also confused what logo to be used as part of halal brand campaign.
The Halal Board Project Director, Dir. Kim Edres said that the board will soon issue a letter that will inform all this companies who use old and different halal logo to use the new unified Philippine halal logo.
Islamic Slaughter House
H.E. Ambassador Abdullah Bin Ibrahim Al Hassan of Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia request to the Sec. Sadain to follow-up on the establishment of Islamic Slaughtering Station in the capital City of Manila, a project proposed and initiated by the former administration of the NCMF with Islamic Development Bank to ensure that there will be a reliable source of Halal meat for Muslim consumers in accordance with the Islamic Shariah Requirements.
Even we have Muslim Meat Butcher if the slaughter house is mixed with slaughtering of pork, the supposed to be halal is contaminated and thus be now haram.
There’s many muslim entrepreneurs want to venture into Halal meat and even processed meat but the lack of Halal facilities like this Islamic Slaughter House is a hindrance. Hopefully the NCMF fast track this project and not only in Metro Manila but also all over the Philippines particularly in Bangsamoro areas.
Kudus to NCMF under the leadership of Sec. Sadain! and the Halal Philippines.