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'Halal lanes' in Davao City lauded

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By Ace June Rell S. Perez

INDUSTRY players in Davao City have lauded the City Government's move of requiring supermarkets, grocery stores and other establishments to set up "halal lanes" through a city ordinance.

Marilou Ampuan, chairperson of the Halal Committee of the Philippine Tourism Congress and founder of Mindanao Islamic Chamber of Commerce (MICC), told Sun.Star Davao that this move will create ripples of positive impact in promoting halal as one of the fast-growing market globally.

Halal (permissible) food is that which adheres to Islamic law.

“It is a welcome development to our endeavor in promoting halal in Davao City as Muslim friendly environment,” she said.

The ordinance was approved on second reading by the City Council last April 12, the lanes, as described, aim to segregate Halal food from non-Halal food items in the market.

She emphasized that Davao City is the first and only city in the country to do such move. Once the ordinance will be passed it will be a landmark ordinance for the city.

“This is a milestone for Davao City Council for supporting Halal Industry. We are so proud that Davao is the only city in the Philippines able to pass an ordinance segregating halal products.

Davao City Councilor Bai Halila Sudagar, chairperson of the Committee on Cultural Affairs, said there is a need to pass such ordinance for the welfare of the Muslims who are vulnerable in violating their Islamic laws due to improper segregation of haram (forbidden) and non-haram goods.

"Unconsciously, we already violated, ate and touched haram products," Sudagar said.

The lead agency that will implement and monitor this ordinance is the Business Bureau, in close coordination with the City Health Office, City Veterinarian’s Office, and the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos.

These agencies are mandated to ensure that the provisions of the ordinance are strictly implemented and complied with by the covered supermarkets, shops, stores, centers and suppliers and other establishments with the territorial jurisdiction of Davao City.

Meanwhile, in a bid to harness a better position for the country’s tourism, especially in Davao Region, through aligning programs for halal tourism, the Universal Center in partnership with the Mindanao Islamic Chamber of Commerce is set to stage the Philippine Halal Tourism Expo 2016 slated on April 22 to 24 at the Abreeza Mall in Davao City.

The expo is part of the Department of Tourism (DOT) campaign under Philippine Halal Tourism Project and Crescent rating program of the office of DOT Assistant Secretary Arturo Boncato Jr.

"Ultimately, this is aimed to gather industry stakeholder and discuss how we can tap the growing and huge opportunities in halal tourism, one of the fastest growing global tourism concept through aligning our programs to the halal market,” Ampuan said.

Ampuan said the expo will further position Davao as one of the halal hubs in Mindanao.