President Marcos vows support for Pinoy seafarers

Credit to Author: Alexis Romero| Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2023 00:00:00 +0800

MANILA, Philippines — Government support for Filipino seafarers will be sustained, with President Marcos praising them over the weekend for their contributions to national development.

In a YouTube vlog published on the eve of the Day of the Seafarer, Marcos said sea-based Filipino migrant workers remain in demand and are known for their ability to get along well with their peers, their capability to speak English, skills, diligence and politeness.

“This industry needs to be supported to maintain the global recognition it is receiving, training, certification and other compliances, I have no doubt about the competence of our seafarers,” Marcos said in the video posted online last Saturday.

“Let us support our sea-based OFWs (overseas Filipino workers). The modern Filipinos can compete on the international stage. Salute to our seafarers,” he added.

The Day of the Seafarer, which is celebrated every June 25, aims to recognize the seafarers’ contributions to international seaborne trade and the global economy. It was established in a resolution adopted by the 2010 Diplomatic Conference in Manila to adopt the revised International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping, according to the International Maritime Organization.

In a separate video message, Marcos noted that the Filipinos’ ancestors had long relied on seafaring to sustain their livelihood and forge economic and trade relations with people from other towns and countries. He thanked the seafarers who “toil day and night to support their loved ones and the Filipino nation.”

“Over the centuries, our seafarers have explored all horizons to provide food, produce energy and build the foundation of our nation’s progress,” the President said.

“The courage and resilience that you demonstrate despite all the adversities and challenges that come your way show that the centuries-long tradition of Filipino seafaring remains strong and still drives each and every one of you today,” he added.

Marcos expressed hope that the celebration would inspire the seafarers to sustain the Philippines’ excellence and leadership in the sector.

In 2022, the jobs of about 50,000 Filipino seafarers were placed at risk after the European Union reported “inconsistencies” in the education, training and certification system of Filipino seafarers.

Last March, the European Commission said it would continue recognizing the certificates for seafarers issued by the Philippines because of the country’s “serious efforts” to meet the requirements in areas like the monitoring, supervision and evaluation of training and assessment.

In the House of Representatives, Speaker Martin Romualdez expressed unwavering support for Filipino seafarers, vowing to champion their rights and welfare.

Speaking at the International Transport Workers’ Federation Seafarers’ Expo, attended by Migrant Workers Secretary Susan Ople and Deputy Speaker Raymond Democrito Mendoza, Romualdez gave assurance that their well-being is a top priority of the government.

“Under President Marcos’ leadership, we are committed to fostering an enabling environment that promotes the welfare of seafarers, supports the growth of the maritime industry, and advances sustainable practices,” he said.

Yesterday, Maritime Industry Authority administrator Hernani Fabia said that seafaring is losing its appeal to the younger generation of Filipinos.

In his message in celebration of Day of the Filipino Seafarer, Fabia said that one of the challenges faced by the country today is the waning interest of the younger generation to become seafarers.

He said gone are the days when children would follow in the footsteps of their fathers and other members in their family, who are seafarers by occupation.

In the vernacular Fabia said, “We now have to understand the changing ambition of today’s younger generation. The allure of a seafaring career, once a proud tradition passed down through generations, now faces a different landscape.”

“Today’s generation are presented with an array of career choices and opportunities, and many may not see themselves embarking on a career at sea,” he added.

For his part, Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte, head of the National Unity Party, urged the Senate to pass the House-approved “Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers Act,” recognizing the significant contributions of seafarers to the economy.

The bill aims to enhance labor protection from recruitment to retirement, empowering the Department of Migrant Workers and relevant agencies. Romualdez acknowledged that seafarers are vital to the maritime industry and the nation’s economy.

Meanwhile, Marcos, in the same YouTube vlog, talked about the celebration of Pride Month, which seeks to recognize the contributions of the members of the LGBTQ+ community and Arbor Day, which encourages the planting of trees.

Marcos said it is important to continue to respect, support and recognize the key role of the LGBTQ+ in society.

“Their contributions to various fields are immeasurable. They are responsible and tireless in supporting their families. Let us applaud them and be proud of them for showing the competence and skills of Filipinos,” he said in Filipino.

“In the new Philippines, Filipinos are free. In the new Philippines, Filipinos are open-minded and are free from discrimination or ridicule. That is the message we will continue to strengthen,” he added.

Reacting to Arbor Day, Marcos cited the need for Filipinos to care for the environment.

“Arbor Day is celebrated as part of the efforts to take care of our forests. Now that the effect of climate change is more felt, it is important for the new Filipinos to take care of the environment,” he said. — Delon Porcalla, Evelyn Macairan