MANILA - Even non-Muslims are setting up halal-certified businesses in the Philippines, reflecting strong demand for products that conform with requirements of Islam, a business leader said.
Halal is an Arabic term which means "lawful" under the Muslim faith. It shuns pigs and dogs and requires that food be prepared a certain way. The global market for halal is estimated to be worth $3 trillion.
"Fastly-growing ang Muslim population, then ganun din ang market. Kung dumadami ang Muslim, dumadami naghahanap ng halal," said Halal International Chamber of Commerce and Industries of the Philippines president Alexander Sultan.
(The Muslim population is fast-growing, so is the market. If there are more Muslims, there will be more people looking for halal.)
Some 10 percent of the Philippines' 100 million people are Muslim, according to the chamber's estimates.
A growing halal market also shows religious tolerance, said trade undersecretary Nora Terrado. Eight in 10 Filipinos are Catholic and the country's southern region has been gripped by decades of religious strife.
"It's about standards. It's also about being respectful about what the Muslim population has developed over the years," Terrado said. -- from a report by Michelle Ong, ABS-CBN News