by Kimberly Jhie Alejandrino, CASS
In its continuing efforts towards internationalization and towards becoming a research university, the MSU-Iligan Institute of Technology’s College of Business Administration and Accountancy (CBAA) and School of Graduate Studies (SGS), in partnership with Anak Mindanao (AMIN) Partylist and the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF), conducted the first forum on Islamic Banking and Finance on September 2, 2015 at COE Amphitheatre.
World Bank Senior Financial Specialist Ms. Nataliya Mylenko, under the Finance and Markets Global Practice, keynoted the said forum.
Ms. Mylenko, based in the East Asian region while having worked over fifty countries on the financial sector development discussed the growth of Islamic banking in various parts of the world, including the Philippine setting.
Islamic-banking.com defines Islamic banking as “consistent with the principles of Islamic law” started as early as the 1900s. It is now going global with a capital of USD 2 trillion, a capital exceeding even growth rates in conventional banking in Indonesia, Turkey, Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates.
Mylenko further discussed Islamic banking not as the mere interest-free financial system many people mistake it for— but as the structured financing, risk sharing, and ethical investing type of system.
Taking into consideration that this type of investment is based on the Shariah, the bank cannot finance non-socially responsible undertakings such as usury-based lending, gambling or the production and distribution of alcohol.
While interest-free or Riba, Islamic banking still considers the opportunity cost of money. The expansion and enhancement of Islamic banking in the Philippines could potentially trigger inflows of foreign investments from the ASEAN. These investments could be channeled towards supporting Philippine small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
Three more authorities shared indispensable insights regarding Islamic banking and finance including Atty. Maisara Damdamun Latiph, Senior State Solicitor of the Office of the Solicitor General, Hon. Sitti Djalia Turabin-Hataman, AMIN Partylist Representative of the House of Congress and Ms. Maharlika Alonto, former head of the Accounting and Finance Department of Al-Amanah Islamic Investment Bank, the first and only Islamic bank of the country.
Latiph introduced House Bill 5989 otherwise known as An Act Amending Republic Act 6848, or the Charter of Al-Amanah Islamic Bank of the Philippines filed by Hon. Sitti Djalia Turabin-Hataman.
Among those who attended the forum were delegates from the financial sector that included the managers, and some officers of leading banks in Iligan City, DTI representatives, the head of the Iligan Investment Promotion Board, a representative of the Sangguniang Panglunsod, officers and the members of the Iligan City Chapter of the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants, accountancy, economics, marketing faculty members and students and representatives of some MSU-IIT offices.
The speakers said that the forum is only one of the many events to be conducted in order to build a people who seek to create constituency of Islamic Banking and Finance in the country.