By Froilan Magtoto
CLARK FREEPORT, Pampanga —The promotion of halal industry in Central Luzon is set in motion as various stakeholders gathered here for the 2nd Philippine National Halal Conference.
The three-day conference, which opened Tuesday at the Quest Hotel, is part of an effort to prepare Central Luzon as a Muslim-friendly tourist destination, particularly with the upcoming 30th Southeast Asian Games this year.
Trade and Industry Undersecretary Abdugani Macatoman said the conference aims to provide practical information to the manufacturers and other business enterprises in the region on the opportunities and trends in the global halal sector as he cited the huge potential of the industry in terms of trade, investment, and tourism.
“We are doing this because we want our manufacturers, entrepreneurs, and exporters to know the potential of this industry. It’s a huge opportunity for them, particularly here in Clark which is one of the country’s top destinations,” he said.
Macatoman said that some tourists in Muslim countries noted the scarcity of halal-certified food, products, and services in the region, particularly in Clark.
“Some Muslim tourists noticed that there are few halal-compliant hotels, restaurants and business establishments here. That is why we want to educate the owners of the business establishments here that there is a big potential on halal industry,” he said.
Meanwhile, Undersecretary Zenaida Maglaya of the DTI Regional Operations Group said there are also big opportunities on non-food halal products such as cosmetics.
“Halal industry is growing very fast, not only in food but also in non-food products and we have a lot of cosmetics companies here. Thus, we are encouraging them to get halal certification for their products and you will see how your market grows,” she said.
With the theme “Leveraging on Unified Opportunities for All-inclusive Growth in the Philippine Halal Export Development and Promotion,” the 2nd Philippine National Halal Conference is being conducted by the Philippine Halal Export Development and Promotion Board, following the success of the first confab held in Davao City last year.
The event is likewise highlighted by an exhibit that features companies with halal-certified products and business-to-business meetings of suppliers, manufacturers, traders, and certification bodies. (PNA)