Villars laud seafarers as âsustainers of global economyâ
The Villars were among the hosts in the simultaneous vaccination of Filipino seafarers. The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) has chosen the Villar family-owned The Tent South Global City as among the inoculation sites. In Las Piñas, at least 1,086 seamen were inoculated.
Mong Pintolo, file

Villars laud seafarers as ‘sustainers of global economy’

Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - June 28, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Cynthia Villar and daughter Las Piñas Rep. Camille Villar have lauded seafarers as “sustainers of global economy” during the nationwide COVID-19 vaccination of Filipino seafarers in Las Piñas City last week.

“The global economy is sustained by the courage and hard work of our seafarers and we should always remember and recognize the enormous contributions of our modern-day heroes amid a global pandemic,” said the senator.

The Villars were among the hosts in the simultaneous vaccination of Filipino seafarers. The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) has chosen the Villar family-owned The Tent South Global City as among the inoculation sites. In Las Piñas, at least 1,086 seamen were inoculated.

The senator cited the Filipino seafarers and their families for contributing to the Philippine economy amid the worst global pandemic that resulted in massive dislocation of workers and closures of business establishments in the country.

In 2019, Filipino seafarers remitted $6.5 billion to the country although government data showed a slight drop in remittances from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

Senator Villar said that once fully vaccinated, “our seafarers can go back to their jobs which was disrupted due to the coronavirus.”

“Being protected against the virus, they can return to their ships and voyages and earn a living for their families. They are also protecting their families from potential infection in the process,” she pointed out during the 11th anniversary of the Day of Seafarers.

“We note with pride how much the Filipino seafarer is valued by ship owners around the world. We thank our manning agencies and ship owners who continue to look after our seafarers especially those in ships that are affected by the global pandemic. Please continue to uphold the best global standards of care and compassion for our OFWs,” she added.

She stressed the vaccination program for seafarers will ensure that the country’s role as the world’s leading provider of the best seafarers shall remain, “much to the relief of our global trade partners.”

The Department of Transportation said Filipino seafarers comprise 25 percent of the 1.5 million seafarers in the world.

Villar noted the continued supply of Filipino seafarers to the world keeps global trade going as the country’s maritime sector continued to deploy Filipino seafarers who remain in great demand for their skills and hard work even during the pandemic.

The Bureau of Immigration reported that it processed and cleared more than 112,000 seafarers who either joined or left their ships last year.

The United Nations, upon the recommendation of the International Maritime Organization, recognizes the contribution of seafarers by declaring June 25 of each year as the Day of the Seafarer. The celebration was proposed during the Diplomatic Conference of Parties to Adopt Amendments to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers hosted by the Philippines in June 2010.

The Villars said their family has launched many initiatives to help the government accelerate its vaccination program since its rollout last March.

Acknowledging the collaborative efforts to fight the virus, the senator said they have been providing the government all forms of assistance to combat this pandemic and to return to help in the country’s economic recovery.

A majority of the vaccinees at The Tent were Las Piñeros and Caviteños who failed to get their jabs during the vaccination in Manila and Taguig. Walk-ins coming from all over the metropolis were also vaccinated.

The vaccination of Filipino seafarers was done in 13 regions across the country in celebration of the 25th founding anniversary of Associated Marine Officers’ and Seamen’s Union of the Philippines.

Go vows protection of migrants and OFWs

Meanwhile, Sen. Bong Go has vowed to protect the welfare of migrant workers and overseas Filipinos amid the global crisis during the celebration of the Day of Seafarers at Intramuros last Friday.

He reiterated his concern for the plight of more than 10 million overseas Filipinos, including seafarers, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“About 10 percent of our population are abroad. It is hard to work abroad to provide a better life for family and better opportunities for your children. As a lawmaker, I will do everything in my means to protect your welfare,” said Go who has been pushing for the passage of Senate Bill 2234, which aims to establish the Department of Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos.

The proposed department will be mandated to formulate, recommend and implement national policies, plans, programs and guidelines that protect overseas Filipinos, including OFWs, as well as promote their interests and resolve issues concerning them in a timely and effective manner.

Go told the seafarers that, as they wait for the creation of this department, his office is ready to listen and assist them with their concerns as he reassured them that the government is working hard to provide services to ensure their well-being during these difficult times.

As chairman of the Senate committee on health, Go was instrumental in the inclusion of overseas workers, including seafarers, in the A4 priority list for COVID-19 vaccination.

The President also approved Go’s subsequent recommendation to allocate specific brands of vaccines for OFWs, which are considered ‘acceptable’ in their countries of destination and ports of entry.

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