Bangsamoro pilgrims performs hajj As Guests of the custodian of the two holy mosques

Cotabato City -  7 out of 25 pilgrims from the Philippines are from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) who were chosen to perform this year’s Hajj through the Program for the Guests of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, for Hajj, Umrah and visit. Travel, accommodation, and all other necessities during Hajj were implemented by the Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance headed by Dr. Abdullatif Al Al-Sheikh. 
These Bangsamoro guests-pilgrims expressed their warmest gratitude to the Saudi King and the Ministry of Islamic Affairs for their generosity and highest form of hospitality during this Hajj experience. It was an unforgettable experience for these chosen pilgrims to perform one of the pillars of Islam while visiting the two holy mosques as guests of the King.

This Hajj program has been started for several years. For this year, the program benefited 92 countries with a total of 4,951 pilgrims who were selected through diplomatic ties of Saudi Arabia with different countries. Pilgrims from BARMM were composed of religious preachers, community leaders, and professionals. Moreover, there are nearly 7,500 pilgrims from the Philippines with a total of more than two million pilgrims from 160 countries around the world according to the Saudi Gazette report. 

Hajj is mandatory for all Muslims to perform at least once in their lifetime provided that they are financially and physically able to do so. It is considered one of the five pillars of Islam which signifies the pilgrimage performed by Muslims to the Holy city of Makkah during the last month of the Islamic calendar, the month of Dhul-Hijjah.

Having benefited from this program, more opportunities are set for the Bangsamoro Government which has the primary jurisdiction over Hajj and Umrah matters affecting pilgrims from within the Bangsamoro. The Bangsamoro Pilgrimage Authority (BPA) shall act in close coordination with the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) on Hajj and Umrah matters to ensure that the pilgrims from the Bangsamoro are provided with the same level of services as those from outside. (Sec. 43, Chapter 3(E), Title III, Book IV of Bangsamoro Autonomy Act No. 13).

This manifestation of development will continue to prosper especially with the bilateral success of the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in the preservation of the gains of GPH-MILF Peace Process through genuine implementation of all signed peace agreements in letter and spirit.