The Department of Agriculture (DA) has urged local businesses to get their Halal certification to be able to cater to Muslim tourists and to help increase the income of local farmers.
Dr. Louella Rowena Lorenzana, MIMAROPA regional technical director for research and regulations of the DA, said Halal is for everyone and not just for Muslims.
“We encourage them to participate in the Halal program to enlist or have their establishments accredited or certified Halal para makadagdag sa kanilang income din. In the end, it will also help our farmers because we will need to produce more food. Halal is not just for Muslims, it’s for everyone,” Lorenzana said
Lorenzana led on Wednesday a stakeholders’ meeting that was attended by 10 business establishments.
He said the department earlier held a forum with the local Muslim community in the province for this purpose.
During the forum, it was noted that there has been a growing number of Muslim visitors which the local businesses have not tapped, she said.
She said the DA will help the business owners who are into food production increase their production because of the high demand.
Alexander Sultan, president and chief executive officer of the Halal International Chamber of Commerce and Industries of the Philippines, Inc., (HICCIP) said the Halal certification of establishments will open opportunities for them to increases their profits.
The transportation sector like tricycles would also benefit because of the influx of tourists, he said.
Sultan said Palawan has been classified as a “non-Halal destination” because of the absence of Muslim hotels and restaurants.
“Unang-una, Halal is for everyone not for Muslims only. It can help our economy, magkakaroon sila ng opportunities to expand their business dahil uso ngayon na kailangan unli call ka sa cellphone, kung hindi unlicall, limited ka lang, kung open line ang business mo, kahit anong tribu, pwede pumunta sa’yo, that’s an opportunity for Palawan,” Sultan said.
Businesses that would be Halal certified will no longer need to have a Muslim employee unless it involves critical situations, he said.
He said that interested establishments may submit the required documents, then they will be given an orientation.
An auditing team from HICCIP will do an audit their compliance, he said.
Certification will be given to establishments if they successfully passed on the application.
The payment for the certification will depend on the size of the business to be certified and owners may request for a discount or pay on installment, Sultan said.
After Puerto Princesa City, the DA will go to San Vicente town on June 25-26 for another certification event.