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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Seafarers Advised by Tugade to Manage their Finances, Don't Get Involved in Drugs, and Wave the Filipino Flag


Wazzup Pilipinas!


Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade has some words of advice to Filipino seafarers, and those aspiring to get into the maritime industry. 

He offered these pieces of advice during the celebration of the National Seafarer’s Day yesterday, 25 June 2018, at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City. With a theme centered on promoting seafarers’ wellbeing, the celebration aimed to bring to the front issues that affect seafarers’ mental health, as well as strategies that will help address their stress, and other concerns. 

Among the issues Secretary Tugade highlighted is substance abuse. He called on Filipino seafarers to observe protocol, and not allow themselves to be instruments of illegal drugs.

“Nakikiusap po ako at nagsusumamo, sa inyong paglayag huwag kayong pumayag na maging instrumento ng bawal na gamot. ‘Wag kayong gumamit, huwag maging carrier at huwag kayong magtulak ng droga, dahil ýan ay ikalulugmok ninyo, ýan ay pagsisisihan ninyo,” Tugade said. 

Through the efforts of the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), several reforms have already been put in place, showing the government’s commitment in promoting the wellbeing of seafarers. Secretary Tugade said many processes have been simplified, and may be done online.

“Naalala ko noong ako ay nag-uumpisa. Nag-inspeksyon ako alas-sais y medya ng umaga, at nakita ko, yung mga seafarer na naghihintay, ang iba natutulog sa bangketa sa kalsada upang magampanan ang kanilang application. Napakalungkot na pangitain. Kaya ang sabi ko, ayoko nang makakita ng ganito. Kanina tinanong ko ang ating mahal na MARINA Administrator Rey Guerrero. Sabi ko, ‘may natutulog pa ba sa bangketa upang maghintay sa kanilang aplikasyon?’ Ang sabi niya, ‘Sir, wala na po,’” he recalled.

Among these processes is the application of the Seafarer’s Identification and Record Book or the Seaman’s Book, which used to take weeks and can now be done online in one day.

Secretary Tugade also tackled what has been a pressing concern for many OFW families: the management of their finances. 

“Sana marunong tayong i-manage ang ating kikitain. Sana marunong tayong maging masinop, dumiskarte at pangalagaan ang pera. Sapagkat may isang katotohanan sa inyong propesyon: hindi po kayo magiging marinero habambuhay,” Tugade said. 

He also discussed a common problem among seafarer families with regards to remittance: “’Wag na kayong maglalagay ng maraming allotment at allottee. Ibigay sa tama at tumpak na allottee. Kunsomisyon lang ang aabutin nila.”

Filipino mariners are the most preferred seafarers in the world and the “biggest nationality bloc” in the global shipping industry, according to the Department of Labor and Employment. They are also among the major drivers of the economy, with remittances amounting to $5.87 billion in 2017, representing 21% of the total remittances of overseas Filipino workers. 

MARINA Administrator Rey Leonardo Guerrero assured that all seafarers will be given the proper skills training so that they can carry on with the Filipino brand of excellence.

“Filipino seafarers are known all around the world because of their industry and efficiency. Ngayon, ang trabaho namin sa MARINA ay masiguro na ang mga advantages na iyon ay ma-maintain, maalagaan, at mas mapag-ibayo pa,” Guerrero said.

During the celebration, MARINA awarded Filipino seafarers who have made a mark in the global maritime industry. Many of these seafarers responded to distress calls at sea and saved numerous lives. Secretary Tugade called them the “heroes of the maritime industry.”

Secretary Tugade said this brand of service is what makes the Filipino seafarer stand out. It is also because of this that he reminded seafarers of their duty and responsibility as ambassadors of the country. 

“Kayo ay maglalakbay sa karagatan. Ang dala ninyo áy ‘di lang inyong sarili; ang dala ninyo ay inyong pagka-Pilipino, ang bansa nating Pilipinas. Kaya sa inyong paglayag, sa inyong pakikitungo sa iba’t ibang nasyon at ibang tao, pakiusap, ipagmalaki ninyo ang Pilipinas, ipagranya niyo ang pagka-Pilipino niyo. Bitbitin niyo, ‘pagkat yun lang po ang iisang bayan natin,” Secretary Tugade said.

Secretary Tugade, who delivered the keynote speech on behalf of President Rodrigo Duterte, also assured seafarers that the President values their contributions and greatly respects the work that they do. 

“Nararamdaman ng ating Pangulo ang inyong sakripisyo. Damdam niya ang kalungkutan at hirap na sa inyong paglayag ay iiwan ninyo ang mahal sa buhay upang magampanan ang tungkulin. Alam rin niya ang inyong kontribusyon sa ekonomiya at kanya itong kinikilala. The President sends his congratulations. Ang sabi nya maraming salamat. Binibigyan niya kayo ng halaga. Mahal niya kayo at matindi ang kanyang respeto sa inyong propesyon,” he assured the seafarers.

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