The Senate on Monday approved on third and final reading a bill seeking to establish a comprehensive program for the development and promotion of halal export products.

Halal refers to meat from animals that have been slaughtered according to Muslim law.

Senator Cynthia Villar said Senate Bill 2831 aims to increase investments and job opportunities in the Philippines, particularly in Mindanao.

Entitled Philippine Halal Export Development and Promotion Act of 2015, the bill, according to Villar, will give the Philippines a “very good position to excel in the halal trade industry with the economic integration of the Southeast Asean Nations (ASEAN).”

According to a Dubai Chamber of Commerce study, the halal food market would be worth $1.6 trillion by 2018.

At present, the country relies on the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) to promote and develop halal food.

Villar said the NCMF’s scope is limited to the domestic market and has nothing to do with export and trade.

Villar, chairperson of the Senate committee on agriculture, sponsored the bill co-authored by Senators Ramon Revilla Jr., Antonio Trilllanes IV, and Miriam Defensor-Santiago.