The Philippines is planning to set up a halal economic zone in line with efforts to attract more investments.
Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) Export Marketing Bureau director Senen Perlada told reporters the government is looking into the creation of an economic zone that would host locators engaged in halal products and services.
The initiative comes on the heels of strong interest expressed by foreign firms to invest in the country by manufacturing products and providing services for the halal market.
Halal is the prescribed process of preparation of products according to Islamic law.
To be considered halal, products and services need to be certified by halal certification agencies.
Among the ideas being considered by the government, Perlada said, is to designate a portion of the Zamboanga City Special Economic Zone (ZAMBOECOZONE) and convert it to a halal economic zone.
He said taking such track is seen to allow the country to tap opportunities in the halal market immediately.
ZAMBOECOZONE chairperson and administrator Christopher Lawrence Arnuco said earlier the agency is looking to make the freeport the gateway to BIMP EAGA (Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area), a growth region of over 57 million consumers where Islam is a dominant religion and halal goods are in high demand.
Other ways by which the country can set up a halal economic zone is through legislation or through the proclamation of an area as a special economic zone by the President.
As other countries in the region such as Malaysia and Thailand have halal economic zones, Perlada said the country would also like to take advantage of opportunities in the halal market by setting up its own economic zone for halal locators.
In line with setting up an economic zone for halal locators, the government also wants to have more halal certification bodies which are recognized overseas, to have presence in the country.