Acidre MIGRANT Workers Secretary Hans Leo Cacdac, Health Secretary Ted Herbosa, and Tingog Party-list Representative Phillip Jude Acidre lead the welcome ceremonies of the 21 Filipino seafarers after their were rescue at the Houth-hit MV Tutor in Red Sea. Photo by JOSEPH MUEGO

AID TO SEAMEN

June 18, 2024 Jester P. Manalastas 83 views

SPEAKER Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez and his wife Tingog Party-list Rep. Yedda Marie K. Romualdez have extended a P150,000 cash assistance for each of the 21 Filipino seafarers who were rescued from the MV Tutor hit by Houti missile and drone attacks in the Red Sea.

According to Tingog Party-list Rep. Jude Acidre, the cash assistance totaling P3.15 million and sourced from the personal calamity funds of the Romualdez couple, aims to provide immediate support to the seafarers and their families.

“As instructed by President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr., Speaker Romualdez and his wife, Rep. Yedda Romualdez is working hard to provide relief and support to our seafarers,” Acidre said.

Acidre, who chairs the House committee on overseas Filipino workers, personally extended the assistance to the seafarers upon their arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal III.

For his part, Romualdez expressed his relief and gratitude for the safe return of the seafarers, citing the government’s swift action following the attack.

“We are deeply relieved that our brave seafarers are coming home safe. This assistance is a token of our gratitude for their courage and resilience during this harrowing ordeal,” he said.

Meanwhile, Rep. Yedda has underscored the need to support and protect Filipino workers abroad, who are the backbone of the nation’s global workforce.

“Our seafarers are our modern-day heroes, and it is our duty to ensure their welfare,” Rep. Yedda said.

She continued: “This cash assistance from our personal funds aims to help them and their families as they transition back home. We stand by them and are committed to providing the necessary support.”

House Deputy Secretary General Sofonias “Ponyong” P. Gabonada, Jr. said the Office of the Speaker is also working to provide additional government assistance to the families of the rescued seafarers.

These include Livelihood Assistance in the form of the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) or the DOLE Integrated Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program (DILEEP).

Also included in the aid package being worked out for the rescued seafarers are Financial Assistance of P10,000 per qualified immediate family member under the AKAP program of the DSWD, and a 20-day emergency employment under the TUPAD program of DOLE.

In addition, qualified family members could receive educational assistance under the Tulong Dunong Scholarship program of the Commission on Higher Education.

These additional assistance packages will be endorsed to the concerned agencies for favorable action subject to the appropriate review process and validation guidelines.

The 21 Filipino seafarers were rescued Friday evening upon the order of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. after the MV Tutor was attacked by the Houthi rebel group while sailing along the Red Sea last Wednesday.

They were warmly received by Philippine Ambassador to Bahrain Anne Jalando-on Louis on Saturday. They returned to Manila Monday morning and accompanied by Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) Labor Attaché Hector Cruz.

DMW Secretary Hans Leo Cacdac confirmed that all 21 seafarers are safe and sound, upon arriving at the Port of Manama, Bahrain, at around 5:30 pm on Saturday.

Search operations are ongoing to locate the one missing seafarer, who will also receive the same assistance package given to his fellow crew of MV Tutor.

The rescued seafarers also received separate assistance packages from the DMW, OWWA and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).