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Nation

Traders, ARMM gov’t support Islamic banking

John Unson - Philstar.com

COTABATO CITY, Philippines - Traders in Central Mindanao and nearby regions are in favor of the Islamic banking system the Anak Mindanao (Amin) Partylist is trying to establish through House Bill 5989.

HB 5989 is still being deliberated in the House of Representatives.

Members of the Muslim and Christian business communities, in fact, attended Monday’s first roundtable discussion (RTD) on HB 5989 here.

The event was held at the conference hall here of the Office of the Regional Governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. (ARMM).

Anak Mindanao Partylist Rep. Sitti Djalia Turabin-Hataman, proponent of the proposed Islamic banking law, presided over the RTD, where speakers, among them Salem Ghandour of the Maybank Islamic Berhad in Malaysia and Isidro Sobrecarey of the Amanah Islamic Bank, took turns explaining the advantages of an Islamic banking system.

An Islamic banking system does not rely on high interest charges to sustain its operation.

Islam prohibits usury and levying of “riba” (interest) on any kind of loan either in cash or in goods.

Speakers in the RTD on HB 5989 said an Islamic banking system is one that is both for the poor and wealthy.

ARMM officials told reporters they support the Islamic banking system bill now pending in Congress.

Bai Sandra Siang, chairperson of the Kutawato Muslim Business Chamber, said she is certain an Islamic banking system could help boost the economic growth of underdeveloped areas still reeling off from the effects of the Mindanao secessionist conflicts.

“Community-level entrepreneurs can go to Islamic banks and borrow money there without paying so much interest for the amounts borrowed to fund their businesses and other livelihood ventures,” Siang said.

Ghandour said there can be no competition or any misunderstanding between Islamic and conventional banks.

Rep. Hataman said none from the conventional banking sector they had initially dialogued with on the intricacies of HB 5989 opposed the bill.

Mohammad Pasigan, president of the Bangsamoro Business Club, said he is also in favor of the bill.

“An Islamic banking system is socialized and operates on religious and humanitarian framework,” Pasigan said.

Rep. Hataman said she is thankful to the ARMM government for helping facilitate Monday’s RTD on HB 5989 here.

ACIRC AN ISLAMIC ANAK MINDANAO ANAK MINDANAO PARTYLIST REP BAI SANDRA SIANG BANGSAMORO BUSINESS CLUB BANKING CENTRAL MINDANAO HATAMAN HOUSE BILL ISLAMIC
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