THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is pushing to boost halal certification in the restaurant industry ahead of the 30th Southeast Asian Games late this year.
“We are expecting more than 48,000 athlete-visitors. Some 50% will be from our Muslim neighbors in Southeast Asia… We need to be proactive in serving their dining needs,” DTI Undersecretary for Special Concerns Abdulgani M. Macatoman told reporters on the sidelines of the Muslims Entrepreneurs Forum held in San Juan City on Wednesday.
Mr. Macatoman said the lack of halal-certified restaurants is a common complaint from Muslim tourists.
He said the Philippines lags Asian neighbors like Thailand, Singapore and South Korea in positioning itself as a Muslim-friendly country.
Mr. Macatoman said the lack of expertise in Halal-approved butchering and food preparation is the central problem that keeps Muslim Filipinos from expanding the industry.
“The Philippines has a Muslim population of about 10 million.
The government is also hoping to capture a piece of the $3.2 trillion global halal market.
The government has also been launching a series of workshops to help educate and promote opportunities in the halal industry across the globe while clinching deals with Muslim states that will help local businesses penetrate foreign markets.
Republic Act 10817 or the Philippine Halal Export Development and Promotion Act of 2016 tasks the DTI with strengthening the country’s ability to service global demand for quality halal products and services. — Janina C. Lim