A NEW halal standard drafted by the Department of Trade and Industry is set to be launched in Davao City this coming May 1 to 6 in time for the Philippine Halal Trade Week.

Marilou W. Ampuan, president of Universal Islamic Center Foundation (UICF), said during the Kapehan sa Dabaw forum Monday, March 26, that with this launching, they were hoping that more and more non-halal establishments will be certified to serve halal food.

Ampuan said the Philippines is a member of the International Halal Accreditation Forum, a unifying body of the countries which have Halal standards; so certification as Halal under the new scheme will mean worldwide recognition.

In the Philippines, Ampuan said there are only six Halal certifiers accredited by the National Commission for Muslim Filipinos, which is no longer the accreditation body, as the power has been transferred to DTI.

These six accredited certifiers from Manila, Cotabato, General Santos City, and United Arab Emirates with local legal identity are: Islamic Dawa Council of the Philippines, Halal Development Institute of the Philippines, Mindanao Halal Authority, Muslim Mindanao Halal Certification Board, Halal International chamber of Commerce, and Prime.

She said these certifiers will not be barred to do business since their accreditation will be extended until 2019. She said these certifiers are already processing their qualifications for the new standard scheme.

She said non-halal food establishments are invited to join the Halal week to be certified by the accredited certifiers.

"Ang DOT Halal recipients are those targets for possible renewal of certification since Davao is being positioned as pilot project area for Muslim Friendly Destination," she said.

These DOT Halal recipients include El Bajada Hotel and Marco Polo Hotel and other hotels, resorts, and restaurants. She said they are seeking Marco Polo to be as model, since they found that the hotel has already adapted to the basic sensitivity for Muslims.

She said there are also 10 other establishments in the city that do not serve pork that they want to avail of a Halal certification.

"It is easier for them, because they have only one kitchen, it is doable for them to have Halal certification," Ampusan said.

Ampuan said that having Halal certification under the new standard of DTI, will pave way for restaurant owners to be part of the $3-trillion industry worldwide.