NCMF develops Hajj Operation Manual

The National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) has developed a Hajj Operation Manual in a bid to come up with a concrete guideline to its personnel, concerned agencies and service providers in assisting Filipino Muslims in performing pilgrimage.

NCMF Field Director Atty. Guialil Kanda said in an interview that the initiative is expected to make the provision of services to pilgrims in the coming Hajj seasons more orderly and smoother.

"We already have the draft which will soon be presented to the Sheikhs and other concerned government agencies through consultations for their comments," he explained.

Kanda looks forward to consult with the Sheikhs, experts who guide the pilgrims during Hajj preparation and rituals in the holy land, before January 15.

To improve the draft manual, he said it is also important to consider suggestions from government agencies like the Department of Foreign Affairs, Bureau of Immigration, Bureau of Customs, Department of Health, Bureau of Quarantine, and the Office of the President.

The NCMF through its Bureau of Pilgrimage and Endowment is the lead agency that helps facilitate the annual pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.

Among the services the NCMF provides to pilgrims are registration, assistance in acquiring passports, Hajj orientations, vaccination, coordination with hotels, and provision of medical team.

The agency also establishes a command center in Mecca during the actual pilgrimage period that can respond to any important concerns of the pilgrims.

Kanda said there were more than eight thousand pilgrims who performed Hajj last year.

The President appoints an Amerul Hajj every year from among the NCMF commissioners who takes the lead in serving the Bangsamoro pilgrims.

Performing Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam which is obligatory to Muslims who have the financial capacity and are physically fit.