News From : DagangHalal.com (03 Jan 2010)
A new legislation elevating the Office on Muslim Affairs (OMA) into a stronger national commission is awaiting President Arroyo’s signature, with the approval of Congress already a done deal.
The congressional measure to be called the “National Commission on Muslim Filipinos Act of 2009” is a consolidation of Senate Bill No. 3482 and House Bill No. 4253.
Mandate-wise, the NCMF, still to be under the Office of the President, “shall take over functions of (OMA), which is hereby abolished. Its coverage shall be both local and national affairs involving Muslim Filipinos that include the implementation of economic, educational, cultural, and infrastructure programs for Muslim Filipino communities.”
Incumbent OMA Executive Director Datu Ali B. Sangki lauded senators and congressmen for the legislation that will transform OMA into the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF).
He cited the significance of the NCMF to the country’s Muslim population.
“We are expecting anytime soon the schedule of the signing by President Arroyo of the Commission Bill and this will be one of the greatest legacies left by the President to the Muslim Filipinos,” said Sangki in a statement sent by the Bureau of External Affairs (BER).
The OMA top official expressed his gratitude to Senator Miguel “Migz” Zubiri and the leaders of both chambers of Congress for painstakingly pushing the bill, which is seen to give Muslim Filipinos “greater role in developing the country through the commission.”
Zubiri led his fellow legislators in granting an additional P100-million allocation for the NCMF, aside from OMA’s P200-million plus approved budget for 2010.
It could be recalled the then President Cory Aquino in 1989 created OMA through Executive Order (EO) No. 122-A as amended by EO No. 295.
Director Tahir Lidasan Jr. of OMA’s Bureau Muslim Cultural Affairs (BMCA) noted the legislation provides new powers and responsibilities to NCMF, one of them to intervene directly in promoting the fledgling Halal industry in the country.
“The Commission will be a major partner in developing the Philippine Halal Industry and it will be a first in Philippine laws that a national body is given express powers to promote Halal in the country,” Lidasan said.
“We look forward to working in tandem with government and private institutions in Halal and make sure that the country is at par with global Halal standards,” the OMA-BER head said.