By JULMUNIR I. JANNARAL | Quezon City
Stranded Filipino pilgrims for this year pilgrimage to Mecca in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) have resumed taking their flights to the Kingdom after the problem on hajj visa has been resolved, according to the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF).
NCMF Commissioner Yusoph Mando, newly designated spokesman of the Commission, said this was resolved by the NCMF management team, now Crisis Team, with the support of the Saudi Ambassador to the Philippines, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, Muassasah and the service provider.
Accordingly, two special flights to accommodate the stranded pilgrims have been assured by the Saudi Airlines and another standby aircraft is ready for departure on condition that visas for the stranded pilgrims are already issued.
The NCMF Management Team headed by Secretary Gene Mamondiong personally conferred with the management of Saudia Airline in their office to finalize the arrangement for at least two special flights to accommodate the stranded pilgrims which Saudia representative already committed to the Secretary during the Hajj Crisis Management Team meeting with the partner airlines yesterday.
The list of the stranded pilgrims with issued visa is now being completed by the BPE. The BPE informed the Commission that majority of the stranded pilgrims from June 19 have already been issued visa while the rest is already being processed.
This list, which will be updated in real-time is now ready and available at the BPE, and will be furnished to the management of Saudia Airline to finalize the new date of flight schedules for the stranded pilgrims.
On the financial issue the management team which has been converted to a Crisis Management Team is urging any interested party to check the money paid by the intending pilgrims, they can check with PNB if it has been used for other purposes except for the Mutawwif and other authorized fees of the pilgrims. To ease the tension among the pilgrims the commission upon the initiative of the management is extending financial assistance and accommodation of the stranded pilgrims
The management team which is now the Crisis Management Team has created a core group out of its members composed of Commissioner Yusoph Mando as Chairman, Executive Director Taher Lidasan, Commissioner Mike Mamukid, Commissioner Samer Allong, Comm. Jamal Munib, Comm. Ras Lidasan, Comm Karima Mindalano. The Management also announced the creation of the Office of the Spokesperson and his deputies that is tasked to give the public all the necessary information about the operation of the commission, its projects and programs in the name of transparency and accountability. (JIJ)