August 19th, 2011

Philippine Government to give seafarers more benefits

Manila, Philippines -The Aquino administration recently vowed to provide more scholarships for mariners’ children in recognition of their vital contribution to the Philippine economy.

The statement was made by President Benigno Aquino III through a letter which was read by Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz during the 1st International Seafarer Family Convention (ISFC).

“The Overseas Filipino Workers Welfare Administration will increase the number of scholarship for seafarers’ dependents. We will address their needs because we recognize the important role they play in our economy,” read the statement.

The Philippines, which is now dubbed “the crewing capital of the world”, has been benefitting on the dollar remittances of Filipino seafarers worldwide. Now, the government wants to show a sense of gratitude to them by prioritizing their needs.

Overseas Filipino Workers which includes seafarers recently recorded $3.8 billion dollars in remittance in 2010 according to a recent report by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Philippine Central Bank). The number is 12% higher compared from those in 2009. The improved numbers have helped the Philippine economy stay afloat amidst global economic problems.

 “Our countrymen comprise 30% of the 1.25 million people working on ships. At any given time, there are about 300,000 Filipino seafarers aboard vessels –from cruise liners to oil rigs,” added the President in his message.

The President also emphasized that Filipino seafarers have become the “preferred choice” of international manning companies. According to various manning companies, it’s the Filipino’s outstanding qualities that make them standout from other workers. Technical knowledge, flexibility, reliability, trustworthiness, hard work and a good command of the English language has become a common trait of Filipino workers added the president.

The Philippine government also re-assured the seafarer’s families that there are also other programs that would not only take care of the workers but the entire family as well. The government’s 22-Point Labor Policy Agenda, Labor and Employment Plan 2011-2016, and Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016 are among the programs that take the OFW’s needs and interest into consideration.

The President’s message further reads, “Your government is also including family members on pre-departure orientation sessions for seafarers, so they can be armed with a better knowledge of the risks and opportunities in seafaring.”

Aquino further described the Filipino seafarers as “Our sailing ambassadors, demonstrating before the global maritime community the traits that make the Filipino people great workers.”