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by Maharlika Alonto - Head, Accounting Department

Aiming to enhance its islamic banking operations, the Al-Amanah Islamic Investment Bank of the Philippines (AAIIBP) recently concluded its week-long training on Islamic Banking and Finance last July 26 to 29, 2011. Organized by the Association of Development Financial Institutions in Asia and the Pacific (ADFIAP), attendance was not only limited to the AAIIBP personnel, as representatives from the government regulatory agencies such as the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Department of Finance (DOF) and Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) were also present.

The training was led by well-known Asian practitioners of Islamic banking and finance. Professor Ashraf bin Md. Hashim, Head of the International Shariah Research Academy for Islamic Finance (ISRA) talked about islamic economics and finance, and the introduction to Takaful (Islamic Insurance) and Sukuk (Islamic Bonds). Followed by Ms. Lee How Fen, Director - Lee Consultancy in Singapore, participants were taught on the rudiments of Islamic Commercial Law, and key documentary and structuring issues for Islamic financial products. Her module also discussed concerns on regulation, supervision and corporate governance in conformity with Shariah. Lastly, two bankers from Malaysia- Mr. Ahmad Nazir Che Yen, Senior Vice President - Islamic Treasury Group of CIMB Investment Bank, and Mr. Mohd Nizam Mohamad, Head - Governance and Compliance of AmIslamic Bank Berhad - extensively discussed mechanisms of operations for Islamic banking, treasury and capital market, as well as financial accounting for Islamic Banks. AAIIBP management exchanged ideas and questions throughout the seminar that are crucial to boosting the Bank's Islamic banking operations. The presence of government regulatory agencies made the event cohesive as issues between agencies and the Bank were widely communicated. Attended by forty-seven personnel from AAIIBP, including two members of its board of directors, the seminar was the biggest training program of the Bank to date.

A halfday executive session was also held last July 28, 2011 and attended by five members of the Board, a Sharia'h advisor and senior officers of DBP.