Halal measure a tourist draw, says Philippines DOT

Halal measure a tourist draw, says Philippines DOT

By Ronnel Domingo

Philippine Daily Inquirer

Posted date: March 11, 2008

DEPARTMENT of Tourism says it expects to draw in more Muslim visitors
to the country as an inter-agency body is set to come out this week
with the standards on halal food production.

However, the World Halal
Council maintains that the Philippine guidelines on producing food for
Muslims would only be good for the locals and would not pass
requirements of other countries.

In a statement, Tourism
Secretary Joseph Ace Durano described the Philippine National Standards
on Halal Food a “landmark development,” saying that the guidelines
would make halal food more accessible in the country.

standards lay out the proper processing, preparing and handling of
meals and food items, according to Islamic laws and teachings.

will be easier for us to break into the Muslim tourist population and
present the Philippines as a destination that not only offers unique
holiday experiences, but also one that respects their religious
practices,” Durano said.

The standards were crafted by the
Philippine Halal Accreditation Board, composed of 19 ulama or Muslim
scholars and religious leaders, in coordination with the departments of
trade and industry, agriculture, science and technology, health, and
tourism, the Office of Muslim Affairs, and the Autonomous Region in
Muslim Mindanao.

On Monday, Durano said the DOT would be aligning
with its regional offices in initiating an information campaign on the
National Halal Standards among restaurants, hotels, resorts, airlines,
food and beverage companies, and other tourism stakeholders across the

Last month, World Halal Council secretary general
Abdul Rahman RT Linzag told the Philippine Daily Inquirer (parent
company of INQUIRER.net) the draft of the standards that the
inter-agency body presented to him could not be considered acceptable
to other countries.

In a letter to Bureau of Product Standards
director Jesus Motoomull dated Feb. 9, Linzag said “a genuine effort
should be exerted by qualified persons or groups to formulate an
acceptable global halal standard.”

Linzag, who is also president
and chief executive of the Islamd Da’wah Council of the Philippines,
maintained that matters pertaining to halal, in keeping with the
practices of Islam, should not be a government function.