As part of an ongoing push to further empower the Philippines as an ideal bridgeway to ASEAN and to the world, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the DTI Special Halal Task Force, in partnership with Digital Pilipinas, formally launched the Halal Industry Development Agenda along with Invest Philippines Week. 

The US$3 trillion global halal economy, which is forecasted to grow to US$5 trillion by 2030, shows that there’s plenty of room for a Philippine halal economy to take shape. Through DTI and the Halal Task Force, today’s government initiatives comprise a concerted effort to help grow the halal industry in the Philippines. Derived from Islamic teachings and central to the life of Muslims around the world, “halal” encompasses not just food and drink, but all matters of daily life

During the program, DTI Secretary Alfredo Pascual oversaw the launch of two significant initiatives in support of President Ferdinand Marcos’ commitment to make the Philippines a “gateway to countless possibilities,” namely, the Philippine Halal Economy Festival, led by the DTI Special Halal Task Force, and the inaugural Invest Philippines Week x Philippine Investment Festival, in partnership with Digital Pilipinas. The event also saw the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the DTI and DKPO, an international purchase order fulfillment company, represented by its President and CEO, Tony Intal. 

Pascual underlined the importance of moving forward with the above key initiatives during his keynote speech, saying, “Over the next five years, the DTI’s strategic plan is to achieve a remarkable milestone of Php 230 billion in halal trade and investments while creating over 120,000 jobs. This is not just an economic endeavor, it is a vision that encompasses growth, inclusivity, and a brighter future for our nation and its people.”  

Pascual added, “Together, we embark on this journey towards a more prosperous and halal-driven Philippines.  

Representing international interest and involvement, H.E. Dato Abdul Malik Melvin Castelino, Ambassador of Malaysia to the Philippines, affirmed that now is the best time to keep moving forward with halal economy plans. “Malaysia is willing to extend its expertise to the Philippines in venturing into halal and digitalization through market access and capacity building – including training,” said H.E. Malik Castelino. “Let us embark on this journey with renewed determination and dedication, confident in our ability to overcome challenges and embrace the opportunities that lie before us.” 

According to Aleem Guiapal, Program Manager, DTI Halal Task Force, the government is fully committed to seeing through all their present efforts to completion. “The DTI-DKPO Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for non-interest financing to support MSMEs in the Philippine halal industry, as well as the Philippine-Malaysia halal industry development initiative, the launch of the Philippine Halal Economy Festival, and other initiatives are all example of the DTI’s efforts in advancing the Philippine halal ecosystem,” Guiapal said.  

The future success of these halal economy efforts is tied to all previous pioneering initiatives that recognized the importance as well as the potential impact of the sector in the global economy. According to Amor Maclang, Convenor of Digital Pilipinas; Digital ASEAN; Philippine Fintech Festival; and Co-Founder of the One ASEAN Fintech Movement and GeiserMaclang, the time has now come for everyone to come together and push forward as one. 

“Beginning in 2019, Digital Pilipinas has been championing the Philippine Digital Economy locally and in ASEAN,” said Maclang. “In this year’s Digital Pilipinas Festival of 2023, we will be hosting the marquee event, the Philippine Fintech Festival, side by side with the inaugural Philippine Halal Economy Festival, which we will be inaugurating together with the DTI and the Halal Task Force.” 

“We look forward to welcoming the world to ASEAN via the Philippines,” Maclang continued, “through trade, investment, and the creation of more jobs and opportunities by helping us build a Digital Pilipinas. 

The DTI launch event gathered several government officials, industry leaders, key experts in their fields, and investors to take part in the discussions related to halal industry development and how to further support the country’s thrust to encourage more foreign direct investments and trade. 

Gilbert Trinchera, Partner, Technology Consulting, KPMG Philippines, believes that the Philippines is on the cusp of becoming a multicultural and diverse country. “We believe that having this initiative on the development of the halal industry will put the Philippines on the global map of developments, particularly in the development sector,” he said. “We in the private sector are really excited to improve the way technology supports the halal industry.” 

Meanwhile, Arlene Martinez, Founding President and Trustee, Asia Council for Small Business (ACSB) Philippines, said that their organization is more than ready to offer its utmost support. “ACSB Philippines is here to bring government initiatives to MSMEs by building their capacity and making them global-ready for eventualities, business growth, and cross-border trade,” she said. “It is about bringing the Philippines to Asia and Asia to the world.”  

Organized by the DTI Halal Task Force and Digital Pilipinas, the inaugural Invest Philippine Week x Philippine Investment Festival is envisioned to be an annual celebration that will fully support some of the key economic initiatives of the Marcos administration. Its program efforts will be done in sync with the three premier investment arms of the government: the Board of Investments, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority, and the National Development Corporation. 

Both of these festivals will occur within the Digital Pilipinas Festival of Festivals, scheduled to happen from November 21-24, 2023. It is slated to be a week-long celebration of multiple festivals that highlight key industries and priority growth sectors, in full support of innovation and growth in the country. 

Help us build a more inclusive and economically sound future for the Philippines – join the Digital Pilipinas Festival x Philippine Fintech Festival Year 2 through the following link: 

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