SIX pilot areas in the Philippines, including Davao City, had been chosen by the Department of Tourism (DOT) as Halal industry template areas that the rest of the country should follow for the overall goal of making the country Halal-friendly.
As the Halal industry is being recognized as an untapped market with potential value that may reach $3 trillion, the DOT has started with its initiative of making the Philippines a Halal-friendly destination through these pilot areas: National Capital Region (NCR), Palawan, Cebu City, Davao City, Cotabato City, and Zamboanga City.
Tourism assistant secretary Eden David, during the DOT press conference held at Marco Polo Wednesday, May 2, said these destinations were chosen to be the pilot areas for the Halal project primarily because of their high level of Halal and Muslim friendly awareness. The reason they are tourism gateways also contribute to this selection.
“The six pilot areas will be prioritized in terms of the implementation of the halal value chain. This is from promotion down to reservation, transport, until to the food sector. The prioritized areas will be followed through and we’ll see to it that the implementation is done,” David said adding that in this implementation many government agencies will be involved.
David said they were hoping that after a year or two, the Halal board will be able to identify basic actions of national agencies concerned and to have a centralized guide for the certifiers what they need to do and to follow.
In addition, David said the basic requirements for a tourism establishment to be considered Muslim-friendly are the availability of certified halal food, provision of prayer room with prayer mat, availability of Qur'an, ablution area, and directors for Qiblah as well as bidet for restrooms.
This bid to improve the Halal industry in the Philippines is also in line with RA 10817, or the Halal Export Development and Promotions Act. It has the objective of “harmonizing standards to international standards and compliance to standards of Halal products, processes, and services become indispensable” to the Philippine government.