Halal accreditation delayed over failure to harmonize standards

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THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said that the accreditation of halal-certifying bodies has been delayed due to a failure to harmonize standards.

Bureau of Philippine Standards Director James E. Empeño told BusinessWorld that since the certifying bodies are not accredited, the halal products are not recognized once exported.

“Right now, everyone’s pressured because there are big markets that we have to address, particularly in the United Arab Emirates, because there’s big potential coming from [other Southeast Asian] countries,” he added.

Mr. Empeño said that instead of sourcing from the Philippines, buyers could turn to other Southeast Asian countries with large Muslim populations like Indonesia.

The Philippines exports dried fruits to the Middle East.

According to Republic Act No. 10817 or the Philippine Halal Export Development and Promotion Act of 2016, the Philippine Accreditation Bureau is mandated to accredit the halal-certifying bodies to maintain the national standard for the products.

Mr. Empeño said that there are currently five halal-certifying bodies that remain unaccredited with the passage of the new law last year.

“There’s actually a timeline, which should have been accomplished by last year, that all the products from the Philippines should have been halal-certified but we’re still fixing it,” Mr. Empeño said.

“Right now, we’re still in the process because the system is still not established. The system made up of the stakeholders — that’s the Muslim community, the academe, industry, and producers of the products for halal certification. That’s what we’re doing right now,” he added.

Earlier this year, Assistant Secretary for the Export Marketing Bureau Abdulgani G. Macatoman said that the DTI targets as much as 10 accrediting bodies this year and up to $1.4 billion in halal exports. — Anna Gabriela A. Mogato