Former Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Tuesday said supporting the country’s Halal industry can help boost the economy.
During the distribution of cash aid to Muslim communities across the country on July 20 as part of the Eid al-Adha edition of his Sampung Libong Pag-Asa program, Cayetano said there are many opportunities for expanding the million-dollar industry.
“Napakarami pa po ng pagkakataon, whether food or non-food items,” he said, adding that the country’s Halal exports in 2018 were already worth around USD 560 million.
(There are a lot of opportunities for business, whether food or non-food items.)
For Cayetano, promoting and strengthening Halal certification can increase confidence in the country’s Halal exports.
“Sa Halal certification, kung papasa ka at maaayos po, napakalaking industriya po nito,” he said.
(When it comes to Halal certification, if you pass the standards and you get your business going, it will be a big industry.)
Cayetano said the country is in a good position to popularize its Halal products in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Europe.
“Siyempre, iba talaga yung purchasing power ng pera nila. It could really be a good (source of) livelihood at pampaganda ng ekonomiya ng isang bansa na talagang tutukan yung proseso para ma-certify (na Halal),” he said.
(Of course, the purchasing power of their money is vast. Should we give Halal certification the attention it deserves, Halal could really be a good source of livelihood, boosting the economy of a given country.)
Citing the aspirations of his mentors from Taguig’s Muslim community, Cayetano said he is planning to establish a local trading center for products from the southern parts of the country.
Taguig is home to Maharlika Village, the biggest Muslim community in the National Capital Region.
Giving hope on Eid al-Adha
Sari-sari store vendor Surayah Sultan is one of the beneficiaries of Cayetano’s Sampung Libong Pag-Asa program.
A resident of Taguig’s Maharlika Village, Sultan was selected as a beneficiary of the program after she posted a comment on the event’s livestream.
“Nagbakasakali lang po ako na baka isa po ako sa mga mapili na mabigyan ng P10K na ayuda. Hindi po ako nawalan ng pag-asa hanggang sa binigay sa akin yung hiling ko,” she said.
(I gave it a try, hoping I would be one of those who will be given P10,000. I didn’t lose hope until it was given to me.)
Prior to being chosen as a beneficiary, Sultan’s husband lost his job at a local pizzeria. With the cash aid she received from the Sampung Libong Pag-Asa program, Sultan was able to add more products to her sari-sari store and pay their household bills.
“Ginamit ko po yung P10,000 sa magandang paraan. Pinamili ko ng paninda ko po. Yung P5,000 po ay binili ko ng mga (produkto sa) sari-sari store. Yung kalahati po ay pinangbayad ko po ng mga bills po, kuryente tsaka tubig,” she said, adding that she now earns between P500 and P700 a day.
(I used my P10,000 in a good way. I used it to buy products for my store. I used P5,000 for that. I used the other half to pay for our bills, like electricity and water.)
To date, more than 6,300 beneficiaries have already received cash aid from the Sampunbg Libong Pag-asa program.
The initiative was inspired by the vision of the 10K Ayuda Bill which Cayetano and his allies filed on February 1 with the aim of promoting household consumption and stimulating the economy.
While the bill was consolidated into the Bayanihan 3 bill, its proposed amount for cash aid was not adopted.