Saudi Arabia-based service providers have readied state-of-the-art shuttle buses and better hotel accommodations for hajj goers from the Philippines this year, the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) announced Monday.
“There are 40 buses that will be used (by Filipino pilgrims) 24/7 with a driver always on duty,” NCMF spokesperson Dimapuno Alonto-Datu Ramos Jr. said, pointing out that such air-conditioned buses will be 2018-2019 models, with WiFi, TV screens and wide reclining seats.
“This is the first time that such high-tech buses will be made available for the Filipino (hajj) delegation,” Datu Ramos said as he posted in Facebook some photos of the modern bus units.
The Saudi Ministry of Hajj has issued special permits for the access of the buses in the vicinities of the Holy Mosques in Makkah and Medina in the Arabian kingdom, he said.
Early this year, NCMF Secretary Saidamen Pangarungan and his technical team visited the oil-rich Kingdom, and forged agreements with host officials for the provision of “more comfortable” facilities for Filipino hajj goers this year, ranging from transportation to billeting in four to five-star hotels.
The agreements also included the permission for a third commercial airline that offered round-trip airfare which would be P30,000 lower than the regular fare, Datu Ramos said.
Malacañang has lauded the current NCMF leadership for instituting reforms in the annual hajj operations, particularly in the lowering of fare and accommodation in four to five-star hotels for Filipinos.
NCMF physician Alykhan Balt and Pilgrimage Operations Chief Zainuden Usudan visited the kingdom recently to check on the readiness of Saudi hajj service providers based on the agreed arrangements, Datu Ramos said.
The immediate past Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Zubairu Dada, …