All is set for the 2nd Philippine Halal Tourism and Trade Expo slated on Friday, May 5 at Abreeza Ayala Mall, in Davao City.
Guesting during the Wednesday’s Habi at Kape at Abreeza Ayala Mall, Marilou W. Ampuan, secretary of Mindanao Islamic Chamber of Commerce, and president of United Islamic Center, the official organizer of Philippine Halal Tourism Expo, said 42 exhibitors have confirmed to participate on the expo.
According to Ampuan, this year’s Halal expo was organized to increase the public’s level of awareness of Halal as well as to give better position of the Philippines, especially Davao, in aligning programs for Halal tourism, one of the fastest growing global tourism concepts.
More importantly, for this year the event aims to gather various players and stakeholders of the tourism and trade industry with the goal of showcasing a wide range of Halal food, products and services from local and international companies.
The United Islamic Center president said that last year, the Philippine Halal Tourism Expo featured the Mindanao launch of Philippine Halal Tourism Project, Davao City Halal Industrial Development Council, showcasing of Philippine Halal destinations, among others.
Preceding the expo, a Halal Tourism and Trade conference will take place on May 4 at Seda Hotel to be participated by the national government agencies, local government units and the private sector.
The event will also highlight the oath-taking ceremony of Davao City Halal Development Council established through Executive Order, No.12 Series of 2017, The council will be headed by Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.
In a previous statement, Ampuan said that the first expo had a “very positive impact” as the Philippine Halal products and services gained international markets and was able to result to the growing interest of more international exhibitors from Malaysia and Indonesia.
She added that the expo has also resulted to the strengthening of efforts of the government to promote Halal products and services through the Philippine Halal Export Development and Promotion Act (Republic Act 10817) signed by former president Benigno Aquino III on May 2016 which institutionalized the creation of the Philippine Halal Export Development and Promotion Board composed of Trade and Industry Sec. Ramon Lopez as the chairperson, National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF). Meanwhile, Sec. Yasmin Lao as vice chairperson, Agriculture Sec. Emmanuel Piñol, Health Sec. Paulyn Jean B. Rosell-Ubial, Science and Technology, Sec. Fortunato Dela Peña, Tourism Sec. Wanda Teo, and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Gov. Amando M. Tetangco, Jr. sit as members of the board.
However, Ampuan lamented on the delay of the finalization of the internal rules and regulations (IRR) of RA 10817 because of the on-going National Certification Scheme Standard as well as the absence of accredited Halal certifiers in the country.
“As of now, there are only few recognized, only recognized by Philippine Accreditation Board but not accredited certifiers to extend service up to two years only,” said Ampuan.
Some of these are Halal International Chamber of Commerce and Industries of the Philippines, Inc., Mindanao Halal Authority (MINHA), and Muslim Mindanao Halal Certification Board, Inc. (MMHCB).
Ampuan expects that the board will officially focus more on the Sharia aspect of Halal or the religious law governing the members of the Islamic faith rather than the technical aspects such as export and promotion.
“A product or service cannot be officially declared Halal if there is no Sharia aspect,” stressed Ampuan who reiterated that Halal is a way of life and not only exclusive to Muslims but to every Filipinos
The United Islamic Center president also expects that the Philippine Halal will be included on the $3 trillion road map for the global Halal market mark by 2021.