IN THE past years, “Halal” is an Arabic word most often heard to refer to the Islamic rule of not eating meat. Today, the misconception is slowly fading as it is becoming a known fact that it could be incorporated to basically everything, from food to cosmetics.

The rise of Halal market and Muslim-friendly establishments in the country indicates development and recognition that halal industry benefits not only the Muslims but everyone. And in Davao City, where people, regardless of race and religion, lived harmoniously in the community, Halal products are patronized.

Marilou Ampuan, Halal committee of the Philippine Tourism Congress chair and Mindanao Islamic Chamber of Commerce, Inc. (MICCI) founder, said there have been a lot of major establishments which called their organization’s attention to guide and assist to start-up a Muslim-friendly establishment.

Ampuan added since the Department of Tourism (DOT) launched Davao City as the first Muslim-friendly destination last May 4, 2018 at Abreeza Mall during the annual event of Philippine Halal Trade and Tourism Exposition.

Major establishments such as Panorama Hotel, Dusit Thani, Apo View, among others have shown interest in taking part in the industry through a traveller’s guide which will include information on where to pray, eat, stay and shop.

The city has now more than 10 halal establishments certified by the Department of Trade and Industry-Philippine Accreditation Board (DTI-PAB) under Republic Act (RA) 10817, while 30 more are still applying for accreditation.

Ampuan mentioned that the Halal industry, not only in the city has been going through challenges but that it is coping up and striving.

“Since we are in a non-Muslim country and majority of the players in the industry are non-Muslim, it is very challenging,” she said.

“In this journey, my advocacy is educating the public that Halal is for everybody not only for Muslims and not only to food but it is a healthy option. Halal is a way of life,” she added.