In a bid to improve the Philippine "halal" industry President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has started steps to develop a local "halal" food industry with possible exports to its Southeast Asian neighbours, a Malacañang statement said on Wednesday. The President is preparing an order creating the Philippine Halal Certification and Regulatory Board, it said. The agriculture department is supporting plans to set up nine halal slaughterhouses in the coming months, at least two of which will be for the export industry, the statement continued. "Halal" refers to meat from animals that are slaughtered in rules strictly prescribed under Islam. The government will ensure that its halal meat is acceptable under the standards set by its mainly-Islamic neighbours to ensure its acceptance in these countries, the statement said. Ms Macapagal, who recently returned from a state visit to Malaysia, was quoted as saying that she considers that country as a model for the Philippines' prospective halal food industry. The largely-Christian Philippines has a Muslim minority but does not have any halal-oriented industry.