Four cities in the Philippines - Cebu, Davao, Makati and Manila - have been named as possible pilot areas where halal-certified restaurants will be listed by April this year. 

As parts of efforts to hit this milestone, Singapore-based accreditation body Crescent Rating will be assessing Philippine establishments' readiness to enter the market. Having been providing services related to halal-friendly travel including a globally recognised rating standard, Crescent Rating will be using its own checklist of indicators to see the level of halal-compliance in certain tourism-related establishments within the country.  

According to BusinessWorld, Crescent Rating will undertake the initial assessment this year for free. 

It was also reported that the partnership is part of an initiative by the Department of Tourism (DoT)  and National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) to address issues related to the development of the halal industry in the Philippines. In the initial DoT-NCMF meeting, tourism secretary Ramon R Jimenez had proposed that that halal issues in the country be tackled not "as a principle but must be project-oriented". 

According to BusinessWorld, Mr Jimenez was quoted by NCMF as saying: "The impetus in the development of the halal industry should be economic rather than cultural ... This way, we will have no difficulty convincing the other sectors to support our initiatives."

The report also quoted DoT assistant secretary Arturo P Boncato, Jr as saying that halal tourism is the fastest growing tourism segment in the world, but the Philippines is "not even on the radar". 

"Our visitors from the Middle East, from ASEAN and from all over the world who embrace the Islamic faith get hungry when they come (to the Philippines) because there are even no halal-certified restaurants at the airports," he told BusinessWorld.

Photo: Makati City; Wikimedia