Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman, Deputy Minority Leader, has introduced House Bill No. 9096, known as “The NCMF Reform Act of 2023,” which aims to eliminate the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) from its role in managing the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. Hataman expressed concern about the NCMF’s incompetence in organizing the annual pilgrimage, leading to significant hardships for Filipino Muslim pilgrims.
The bill proposes that the private sector take over the preparations for the Hajj, considering it a sacred obligation for the Muslim faith. Hataman cited multiple incidents of Filipino Muslims being stranded and facing difficulties due to inadequate NCMF services. The bill’s main points include limiting the NCMF’s role to registration and accreditation of private individuals or entities involved in facilitating the Hajj and removing its authority to administer or process the pilgrimage. It also redefines the powers of the Hajj attaché and calls for better treatment of Filipino pilgrims.
Hataman emphasized that in some countries, the private sector exclusively manages the Hajj, while in others, it is a joint effort between the public and private sectors. This legislation seeks to address the ongoing issues and improve the experience for Filipino Muslim pilgrims.