The world is still reeling from the effects of the recent pandemic brought by the COVID-19 virus. An outbreak that had the world locking not only their borders but their citizenry’s houses, as well.
In a joint statement issued last October 2020 by the World Health Organization (WHO), International Labour Organization (ILO),International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), it has been estimated that tens of millions of people are at risk of falling into extreme poverty while the number of undernourished people, currently estimated at nearly 690 million, will increase by up to 132 million by the end of the same year.
Furthermore, millions of enterprises are expected to face an existential threat, and that nearly half of the world’s 3.3 billion global workforce are at risk of losing their livelihoods.
Needless to say, the effects of the pandemic has indeed placed the entire globe at a standstill. Though vaccines against the said virus are now being made available, only medical frontliners, as of this time, have access to it.
The phrase ‘new normal’ has become synonymous with the pandemic. Coined to describe the changes effected to the society , it describes a new norm that the people must adapt to – the required distancing, wearing of personal protective equipment, and regular use of disinfectant (i.e. alcohol).
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in an online caucus last December 2020 have stated that the pandemic may have a lasting negative effect in the global food security until 2050.
This view on the pandemic’s lasting effect is also shared by most analysts, world observers, and economists.
Being one of the world’s developing countries, the Philippines’ high inequality and low social mobility has become more significant – an observation similarly mentioned on a Wod Bank blog dated January 7, 2021.
Socio-economic disparity is also aggravated by the pandemic burdening even middle-income Filipino families.
But hope is not lost.
In the midst of this turmoil, we still have heard or read stories of triumph. Apart from higher rates of COVID recovery, there are businesses that thrived and emerged during the pandemic such as web-based industry, manufacturing and logistics. This shows the possibility of shortening if not averting early negative projections.
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has the same optimistic business outlook for 2021. This is in reaction to the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) report of the November 2020 Net Economic Optimism, released last January 5 indicating that 42% of Filipinos expect the local economy in better shape in the next 12 months.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez has guaranteed that “With 99.5% of our businesses being micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), DTI shall further strengthen its programs to support MSMEs, such as in training, mentorships, microfinancing and equipment support and market development for enterprises to become COVID-proof. This will save companies that will save jobs. These jobs, in turn, will sustain the incomes that will create demand, which would help to revive the economy.”
Prior to the pandemic, the goverment has recognized the Halal industry as a pillar for the nation’s growth. The DTI, Department of Tourism (DOT), and Department of Agriculture (DA) have taken initiatives tapping the Halal industry to be their economic partner.
Socio-economic infrastructure for the Halal industry has already been placed, programs have been initiated, and results have already peaked. That is, until the pandemic spoiled everything.
But now that businesses are reopening, the Halal trade and commerce is expected to be bullish on the restart. With its accreditation activities continuing even during the pandemic, more Halal-certified entities have become economic allies.
Halal franchising has also been an area of interest. The distance and scarcity of Halal establishments has led investors to consider franchising.
Aside from the fact that it has gained traction in the local trade, tourism, and agricultural sectors, Halal is also a multi-billion global industry with a recent development in Indonesia exercising export leniency over Phillipine products.
These milestones are reasons why the Halal industry definitely counts as one of our nation’s reliable economic partners.