By Julmunir I. Jannaral | Managing Editor
Several Muslim Filipinos who are undergoing their 30-day fasting during the holy month of Ramadan are always expecting that during the time of their Iftar or breaking of their fast they can savour the sweet dates or “Korma” usually through the courtesy of the embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Makati City.
Based on the Facebook Timeline of Dr. Jun Alonto Datu Ramos, director of the Bureau of External Relations of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) and concurrently the NCMF spokesman being the chief of the Public Relations and Information Division, it stated that the dates or Korma donated by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia numbering a total of 1,250 boxes are not yet distributed to the recipients in the Metro Manila as well as in the Visayas and Mindanao regions.
The Muslim Filipinos are still hoping that they can still receive the dates “Korma” as a form of yearly donations by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Dr. Abdullah bin Nasser Al-Busairi, the Ambassador of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques has made the donation for this Ramadan possible.
Administrative Services Director Abdullah Macarimpas through General Services Division (GSD) Chief Sowaib Hassan has shown the thousands of boxes stored in the NCMF Central Office in Quezon City and still undistributed.
Aleem Said Ahmad Basher, a resident of Quiapo, Manila whose residence is just very near the Golden Mosque told the Philippine Muslim Today over the phone that even themselves they’ve have not yet received even a single package of dates considering the proximity of the NCMF Central Office to the Islamic Center in Manila.
Ironically up to today, Friday it is now 18 days of fasting and more or less 10 days more to go and fasting will bade goodbye and people will finally celebrate the Eid’l Fitr and these donated dates are not yet distributed.
According to the NCMF under Secretary Saidamen B. Pangarungan the delay was due to the pandemic restrictions of the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus, NCMF Central Office lockdown, and most of all due to the exorbitant shipping fees of private couriers.
As this developed, Secretary Pangarungan had already requested the Office of Civil Defense in Camp Aguinaldo in transporting these dates to the recipients in Visayas and Mindanao using the C-130 cargo plane of the Philippine Air Force (PAF).
However the NCMF officials are still waiting as of this writing on the availability of the PAF cargo plane.
Meanwhile, some people who are privy to the allocation of the distribution of dates said these are not well allocated. An NCMF employee seeking anonymity said there is disparity in the distribution of boxes of dates wherein for a single box it has 20 small packages in all.
He cited for example the Municipality of Tubod in Lanao del Norte it is allocated with 20 boxes of dates. Whereas for the Provinces of Tawi-Tawi and Basilan are allocated with 10 boxes each. But he asked how come Tubod a single municipality is allocated with 20 boxes. Unlike these two mentioned provinces they have a total of 20 boxes. This is notwithstanding Basilan Province has two cities the Isabela City and Lamitan City. JIJ