24 November 2020 via Facebook Live

Ladies and gentlemen, magandang umaga po sa inyong lahat!

To the guests, participants, and stakeholders of the Philippine Halal industry, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) welcomes all of you to the 3rd National Halal Conference. In these challenging times posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to maximize the industry’s potential and take advantage of the opportunities being presented to us.

Prior to COVID-19, the global and domestic Halal economy was already showing impressive development. In 2018, the world’s 1.8B Muslim consumers spent an estimated US$2.2T across the different sectors of the Halal economy, indicating a 5.2% year-on-year growth. For the Philippines, our Halal export sales hit US$83.2M.

But when the pandemic struck, the popularity of Halal food rose even further as people turned to healthier practices for safety. Inventure Knowledge, a research and consulting firm in Indonesia, reported that concerns over the risks of COVID-19 had contributed to a recent increase in consumer awareness on the importance of Halal food consumption. What’s more, the Halal Monitoring Committee (HMC), a Halal certifying organization in the UK, reported a significant increase in demand for Halal meat due to the outbreak.

It’s also important to note that the Halal food sector was one of the sectors least affected by the health crisis, alongside the Halal pharmaceutical and media sectors.

That’s why the Philippine Halal Export Development and Promotion Board—which DTI chairs—remains committed to the implementation of Republic Act (RA) No. 10817, or the “Philippine Halal Export Development and Promotion Act of 2016.” By reinforcing the production and promotion of Halal products in the country, we can support our Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the Halal industry and create more employment opportunities for our people. This, in turn, will contribute to our country’s economic recovery from the pandemic.

To this end, we’ve launched programs to develop the competitiveness and provide linkages for our Halal MSMEs, as well as our Halal Certifying Bodies.

For example, the Philippines explored a possible cooperation on Halal with Indonesia during the 7th Meeting of the Joint Working Group (JWG) of Senior Officials last August 2019 in Jakarta. Furthermore, we expressed interest in exploring more trade opportunities for Halal products with Malaysia during a courtesy call of the Malaysian Ambassador to the Philippines Norman Muhamad last October.

DTI is also working on an interactive mobile application to increase awareness of our Halal industry, promote our readiness to supply Halal Certified Products and Services, and provide

easy access guide for Halal establishments and products. Our ASEAN neighbors like Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and Thailand already have similar apps that enable consumers to validate Halal certificates and extract other information of the products and its manufacturer. Likewise, these apps help locate mosques and Halal certified restaurants with the use of GPS, which makes it easier for Muslim tourists visiting the county.

DTI has also included Halal food in FOOD Philippines, which is our program to promote Filipino food worldwide. Utilizing multimedia content, FOOD Philippines will serve as a global platform featuring various local food companies participating in the program. We would like to point out that before the pandemic, 24 exporters from our food sector booked a total of US$102M in reported export sales at 25th edition of the Gulf Food, Hotel and Equipment Exhibition and Salon Culinaire (Gulfood) last February at the United Arab Emirates.

Laslty, the Philippines currently has 10 Halal Certifying Bodies but we hope to have more to accommodate more applicants and encourage more businesses to tap into the continuously growing Halal industry. In particular, food certifications are crucial in meeting the demands and capturing a bigger market share of the US$ 3.3T global halal market.

That’s why we need to develop and expand the reach of Philippine Halal Certified products for major Islamic Markets by training our Halal Certification Bodies (HCBs) on applicable ISO Standard and Market Requirements. This will ensure producers, manufacturers, and providers of Halal products, processes, and services are compliant with national as well as international standards. Ultimately, this will push our MSMEs to become competitive and export-ready producers, manufacturers, and providers of Halal Certified products and/ or services.

To close, our Halal MSMEs and Halal Certifying Bodies will certainly play a significant role in creating a globally-competitive Philippine Halal industry. Having harmonious Halal certification processes and accreditation policies and standards will also improve our country’s integrity and credibility.

However, the government will also do its share through continuous collaboration and by empowering and enabling the industry. Moreover, as we push for the creation of a worldwide brand that links quality in every Filipino product and service, we want to do the same for Filipino Halal products.

Halal is a lifestyle that can be enjoyed by everyone and we are confident that our Halal MSMEs will contribute to our country’s economic recovery in the post-pandemic future. DTI believes that through a strong Philippine Halal industry, our people can achieve a better and more comfortable quality of life as promised by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

Shukram at mabuhay po tayong lahat!♦

Date of Release: 25 November 2020