By Ali Macabalang
COTABATO CITY – Another Filipino pilgrim died in Saudi Arabia on Thursday, bringing to six the number of fatalities out of the over 7,000-member Philippine hajj delegation this year.
National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) Spokesperson Jun Alonto-Datu Ramos named the latest fatality as Fatima Odin Salik, 70, a female pilgrim from Maguindanao.
Salik was discovered lifeless inside her room at the Al-Hidaya Tower 7 hotel in Makkah Thursday by Dr. Almarie Mangondato and nurse Mojib Alabao, both of the NCMF medical team, who responded to a call from fellow pilgrims, Datu Ramos said.
Citing a report from Mangondato, Datu Ramos said medical team paramedics had earlier checked up on Salik, and found her blood pressure highly fluctuating.
Datu Ramos posted in social media a photo of Salik’s passport, and that of two NCMF medical team workers attending to Salik’s body inside her hotel room.
NCMF Medical Team Head Dr. Abdulnasser Masorong has already coordinated with the Philippine Consular office and Saudi authorities on the documentation of Salik’s demise.
Fatima was the sixth fatality among the 7,325 Filipino delegates, 6,973 of them pilgrims, in this year’s hajj season.
The NCMF earlier reported the deaths of pilgrims Kiram Macapalao Rasuman, 62; Abdulnasser Hosain Banto, 62; Sarapia Abalimbona Taha, 57, all from Lanao del Sur; Bailani Sakandal Dalandas, 70, and Enting Tungao Kamensa, 66, both of Datu Piang, Maguindanao.
Rasuman, Taha, Kamensa, Dalandas and Banto died of heart attack in different hajj ritual venues in Madinah and Makkah between July 19 and August 11, according to earlier NCMF reports.
All of them fatalities were buried in Saudi Arabia with the consent of their relatives. Similar arrangement would be done for the remains of Salik, it was learned.