GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 6 June) – The city government is pushing for the establishment this year of specialized areas for halal products in all local supermarkets and other related business establishments.
Leonard Flores, head of the City Economic Management and Cooperative Development Office (Cemcdo), said Thursday they are currently working with supermarkets of shopping malls and businesses selling food and non-food halal products to facilitate the setting up of exclusive “halal lanes.”
He said the move is in line with the full implementation this year of Ordinance No. 7, series of 2018 or the “Halal Ordinance of General Santos City.
The ordinance requires business establishments selling halal food and beverages and other non-food products to provide separate storage, display section and separate payment counters or lanes.
It aims to “establish a harmonious relationship between Christians and Muslims in General Santos City by promoting, protecting and respecting the Muslims’ religious belief, customs, traditions, especially in their sacred concept of halal to ensure that the food they consume and the products they use are spiritually pure and clean.”
Halal is Arabic for “permissible” but is also largely referring to food that is allowed for consumption among Muslims.
Flores said the supermarket section of the Robinsons mall here has already complied with the provisions of the ordinance, which was authored by City Councilors Rosalita Nunez, Alberto Pacquiao, and Jose Orlando Acharon.
“The mall endeavored to provide halal paying counter, display area, weighing scale, pushcarts, and baskets to cater to halal conscious consumers,” he said in a statement.
Robinsons mall was recognized by the city government earlier this week as the first-ever compliant establishment in line with the rollout of the “halal lanes.”
The official said the local government has activated a Halal task force to monitor compliance with the measure based on Executive Order No. 23 issued by City Mayor Ronnel Rivera.
The task force is composed of officials and representatives from the City Health Officer, city council’s committee on health, City Veterinary Office, City Permits and Licensing Division, National Commission on Muslin Filipinos, business sector and the Muslim sector.
Flores said Cemcdo and the Indigenous Cultural Communities Affairs Division of the City Mayor’s Office were also tasked to implement programs that will push for the development of the city as halal-friendly and one of the country’s “halal hub.”
“The city recognizes its role as the premier destination of neighboring Muslim communities and also envisions to be the destination of foreign tourists from Muslim countries,” he added. (MindaNews)