IT IS ironic that Davao City, a major economic center in Mindanao, does not have as much halal or Muslim-friendly establishments as it should.
According to the Department of Tourism (DOT) of the thousands of business establishments in the city, only 15 have been identified as Muslim friendly.
Six out of 15 of these are certified Halal, namely the Al Sultan Restaurant, Tinhat Boutique Hotel and Restaurant, Tambilawan Restaurant, the kitchens of El Bajada Hotel and Sunny Point Hotel, and Alimens Makkhan. Most of them just renewed their certification.
Halal refers to lawful or permissible under Sharia’h or the Islamic Law.
While there are not much establishments that would cater to the needs of the Muslim population in the city, the local government unit (LGU) in the city has been working hard to develop the halal industry here.
For one the city was the first in the country to have an ordinance on Halal -- Halal Ordinance of Davao City, which was passed in 2010. According to the Byaheng Do30 website, the ordinance “requires establishments to acquire certification first before they can use the halal word and logo in their trade name.”
In 2016, the Davao City council passed an ordinance requiring supermarkets, grocery stores, and other food establishments in Davao City to establish “halal lanes”.
This ordinance mandates the segregation of halal (permissible) food from haram (forbidden) food items, from delivery to storage, display, weighing, slicing, carrying through baskets/carts/trolleys, until its final packing at the payment counter.
The LGU and the private sector have also been working together in developing the halal industry in Davao City.
Though some of them may not have been identified by the DOT yet, there are a number of establishments in the city that are doing what they can to cater to their Muslim clients.
There has been a lot of optimism in the halal industry in Davao City. With the city steadily becoming a global city, considering there is now a direct link to the Middle East with Qatar Airways and to Indonesia with Garuda Indonesia, it has to continue to develop and support the halal industry here. Likewise, entrepreneurs must also see the value of establishing a Muslim-friendly business.
More than the potentials of the industry, having Muslim-friendly businesses allow the city to become a more welcoming destination to our Muslim brothers and sisters.