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LGU GenSan pushes compliance with 'Halal and Musalla' ordinances in 3 big malls

GENERAL SANTOS CITY -- TThe local government unit of General Santos through the City Mayor's Office-Integrated Cultural Community Affairs Division (CMO-ICCAD) pushed for the establishment and launching of halal lanes, halal counters, and Muslim prayer rooms in three large malls in GenSan on April 3, 2023. 

Mayor Lorelie Geronimo-Pacquiao led the ribbon-cutting ceremonies at KCC Mall and Veranza, Robinson’s Place, and SM Mall of Gensan. 

The event was also attended by Vice Mayor Rosalita T. Nuñez, city councilors Jonathan T. Blando, Richard L. Atendido, Dominador S. Lagare, Jr., Atty. Franklin Gacal, Jake Reyes, and National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) Provincial Director Hadja Aida P. Seddic and staff. 

In her statement, Mayor Pacquiao expressed her appreciation to the malls management for their halal lanes and prayer areas for "our Muslim brothers and sisters." She also said that the local government, under her administration, would continue to support the needs of the Muslim populace in the city.

The establishment of Muslim prayer rooms in malls was in compliance with Ordinance No. 19, series of 2022, also known as the "Musalla Ordinance."

Approved on April 29, 2022, the ordinance is authored by former city councilor Atty. Franklin Gacal Jr., former ex-officio councilor turned mayor Lorelie Geronimo-Pacquiao, and councilor Jose Orlando K. Acharon with councilor Jonathan T. Blando as co-author.

The halal lanes and counters are based on City Ordinance No. 7, Series of 2018 authored by former councilor turned vice mayor Rosalita T. Nuñez,  councilor Jose Orlando R. Acharon, and former councilor Alberto D. Pacquiao.

Its purpose is to establish harmonious relations between Christians and Muslims in the city by promoting, protecting, and respecting Muslim beliefs, customs, and traditions, especially their sacred concept of halal to ensure that the food they eat and the products they use are clean.

Halal is a quoranic term which means clean, permissible and lawful.

In 2019, Robinsons Place GenSan was the first to comply with the halal ordinance in its supermarket.

“We have been longing for this to experience guilt-free shopping, a guilt-free buying of our daily consumption of food, especially in this month of Ramadan. You know how important the halal food and prayer rooms are for us [Muslims],” said CMO-ICCAD division chief Jocelyn Lambac-Kanda, in her speech during the launching ceremony. 

She said that this is “not just the need of our Muslim brothers and sisters but also this initiative gears towards economic growth.” “It is a meaningful, responsive, and inclusive ordinance that benefits not just GenSan but its neighboring towns,” she added.

With this kind of initiative, GenSan is expected to attract more Muslim tourists as the city aspires to become a “halal-friendly city.” 

During the event, Mayor Pacquiao also announced the local government's sponsorship of GenSan’s representative for Hajj to Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

Furthermore, this coming April 13, the local government through CMO-ICCAD will be conducting a Grand Iftar at the GenSan gymnasium as part of the observance of the Holy month of Ramadan. (Genory Vanz Alfasain/Voice of the Youth Network)

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Catherine Apelacio

Information Officer III

Region 12

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