Shiek Abdul Malik Manamparan (standing) briefs Muslim pilgrims on their religious obligations during their voyage from Iligan to Manila onboard M/V St. Joan of Arc.
Sta. Mesa, Manila – 509 Muslim pilgrims from different towns of Lanao del Norte and nearby cities of Iligan and Marawi availed of Lanao del Norte’s Hajj (pilgrimage) program organized by the provincial government.
This is the 11th year of implementation of the Hajj program since it was launched last 2004 as part of the Dimaporo-Quibranza Initiative. This unique pilgrimage program is the only one of its kind being implemented throughout the country.
The Hajj program was created by erstwhile Governor now Representative Abdullah Dimaporo and continued during the administrations of Governor Imelda Quibranza-Dimaporo and present Governor Mohamad Khalid Dimaporo.
“In Lanao del Norte, we give both Christians and Muslims equal opportunities to exercise their faith. We believe that by having more God-fearing Christians and faithful Muslims this will ultimately result to a more peaceful and progressive Lanao del Norte”, explained Provincial Information Officer Lyndon Calica.
The annual Hajj is the largest pilgrimage in the world, and is the fifth pillar of Islam, a religious duty that must be carried out by every able-bodied Muslim at least once in their lifetime.
Lanao del Norte’s Hajj program is also fully supported by the Sanggunian Panlalawigan led by Vice-Governor Cristy Atay and Hajj committee chairman Mohamad Moamar Jack Maruhom.
Under the Hajj program, enrolled pilgrims receive assistance in securing their passport, vaccination and other required travel documents. They are also assisted in reserving airline seats for their flight to Saudi Arabia. As part of the program, the provincial LGU also help facilitate for the transportation needs of the pilgrims from Lanao del Norte to Manila as well as book their hotel accommodation while awaiting for their scheduled international flight.
Composing the Hajj organizing team are personnel from the Provincial Community Affairs Office (PCAO) and the Provincial Information Office (PIO).
“We are thankful to Governor Khalid Dimaporo for continuing this Hajj program. This is a big help in making our pilgrimage a more meaningful and spiritual experience”, expressed Balo-i Hospital Nurse Patre Raiffah Domato.
This year’s Hajj is expected to fall between September 22 to 29, 2015. VNL/PIO-LDN