NCMF Secretary Saidamen B. Pangarungan was appointed for the third consecutive year by President Rodrigo Duterte as Amirulhajj to lead the 2021 annual Pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.
Under Republic Act 9997, the NCMF Secretary shall be the Amirul hajj who is the official representative of the President, and the leader of all Filipino Muslim pilgrims, in the annual Hajj.
More than 7,000 intending Filipino pilgrims have registered with the NCMF to join the Hajj this year.
NCMF Bureau of Pilgrimage and Endowment Director Malo Manonggiring expressed optimism that the pilgrimage will likely push through for foreigners this year. With the President’s appointment of the Amirul hajj, and the reported statement of Saudi King Salman to allow the hajj this year under normal conditions, Secretary Pangarungan is hoping that Filipinos will be able to attend the 2021 Hajj.
The Saudi Health Ministry also announced the requirement of getting mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for all pilgrims for this year.
Last year’s Hajj only included Saudi nationals and foreign expatriates already residing in the Kingdom due to the global outbreak of the COVID-19. However, the Saudi Government allowed foreign pilgrims to begin joining the Umrah, or the Minor Pilgrimage, starting November 2020.
Secretary Pangarungan expressed his sincerest gratitude to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, Senator Christoper Lawrence “Bong” Go, and Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea II, for their continued trust and confidence in his stewardship of the Commission. He was also re-appointed by President Duterte for a second term as NCMF Secretary.
He vowed to continue priority programs as mandated by the NCMF Charter, to include:
- Resumption of relief operations to all Muslim communities in need of assistance nationwide. Almost 200,000 Muslim families received relief assistance so far from the NCMF and partner agencies and organizations during the pandemic
- Establishing Muslim cemeteries and Muslim Consultative Councils in non-Muslim cities and provinces outside BARMM
- Peace-building programs in support of Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (PCVE) and ELCAC
- Shariah, Halal, Madrasah promotion and development
- Improvement in Hajj delivery services
- Activating most of the 26 mandates provided by the NCMF charter
- ISO accreditation of the NCMF