The embassy of the Republic of the Philippines in Doha is eyeing to further strengthen the southeast Asian nation’s investment ties with Qatar, an official has said, citing “enormous opportunities in the Philippine halal industry.”
Consul general Cassandra Sawadjaan said: “The Philippine government recommends technical co-operation between the Philippines and Qatar on halal to include important provisions, such as mutual recognition of accreditation and certification bodies, harmonising of halal certification processes and standards, exchange of information on best practices, and training of halal auditors.”
According to the Investment Promotion Agency Qatar (IPA Qatar), Qatar and the GCC region are emerging as major players in the global halal economy, which is poised to experience a massive growth spurt, with revenues seen to hit $7.7tn by 2025.
Speaking to Gulf Times on the sidelines of the embassy’s ‘Filipino Food Month’ celebration at the Maharlika Park Restaurant, Sawadjaan said there is also potential in private sector investments in the halal industry, including Islamic banking that would cater to the under-serviced Filipino Muslim population, halal slaughterhouses and dressing plants, and halal laboratories.
Monica Remsy Calangian, third secretary and vice consul, also said Philippine ambassador Lillibeth V Pono has been meeting with several entities in Qatar to enhance economic and investment ties between the two countries.
Calangian stressed that “one of the marching orders from the Philippine government” to Pono is to drive Qatari foreign direct investment (FDI) inflow into the Philippines and strengthen Filipino businesses in Qatar.
She also said the celebration of Filipino Food Month in Qatar has been receiving positive responses from the participating Filipino-owned restaurants operating in the country and their patrons.
Calangian noted that the Philippine Embassy has been maximising the celebration of the initiative to engage with owners of Filipino restaurants and learn about the history of their establishments, as well as to showcase the different Filipino dishes being served there.
On Filipino Food Month’s impact on Filipino entrepreneurs in Qatar, Calangian said: “There may be some Filipinos in Qatar who also want to venture into the restaurant business, but lack the courage or motivation, so we at the Philippine embassy are hoping that by featuring Filipino-owned restaurants this might also encourage more Filipino entrepreneurs here to venture out into this industry.”
She said under the leadership of Pono, the embassy has been forging a wide range of collaborations and partnerships with different Filipino organisations here to explore and tap businesses, including Filipino restaurants, among others.
Allan De Ocampo, owner of Maharlika Park Restaurant, lauded the Philippine embassy’s efforts in celebrating Filipino Food Month in Qatar. He stressed that showcasing Filipino-owned restaurants and their signature cuisine is helping them tap a much wider customer base.
“This initiative will really help enhance the Philippines’ brand in terms of good food and speciality dishes that can even compete internationally. While there are many restaurants in Qatar that are serving Filipino food, the distinction and excellence of our cuisine is enough to encourage more Filipino entrepreneurs to establish their own food businesses here,” he stressed.
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