A party-list solon expressed gratitude to President Ferdinand. Marcos Jr. for acknowledging the efforts of Filipino seafarers.
Marino Party-list Representative Sandro Gonzalez welcomed the inclusion of the maritime education as part of the administration’s achievement and plans during his second State of the Nation Address.
Marcos has mentioned in his second State of the Nation Address that maritime education in the Philippines has been strengthened for seafarers to continue to excel.
With the country’s reputation as one of the top producers of highly skilled seafarers worldwide, a government in action is what the Filipino mariners need.
The lawmaker said there is a need to solidify the Philippines’ position as a global maritime hub – that means having a steady supply of competent Filipino seafarers and a strong shipping industry.
It can be remembered that the recognition of the standards of training of Filipino seafarers has been at a pitfall during the audit reports conducted by the European Commission and other independent auditors. Marcos also stated in his SONA that this matter “has now been resolved after 17 years.
“We salute the current administration for putting the welfare of the seafarers at the forefront, along with the other priorities of PBBM. We called for a strong support from the President towards the maritime industry and he answered,” the solon said.
Meanwhile, two solons who both champion the welfare of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) were elated over President Ferdinand Marcos Jr’s unwavering concern to the rights and protection of the OFWs.
Kabayan Party-list Rep. Ron Salo said the President’s commitment in empowering and uplifting the lives of modern-day heroes is truly commendable.
According to Salo, Marcos dedication to the welfare of our OFWs has yielded remarkable results, and his strategic leadership has resolved key issues affecting our workers abroad.
Among the achievements mentioned in his SONA are: Resolving the issue on the certification of Filipino seafarers by the European Maritime Safety Agency, a pivotal step in ensuring the recognition of our seafarers in the global maritime industry; Recognizing the significant contribution of our OFWs to the economy, as their remittances in 2022 has reached $32.5 billion dollars; Securing the commitment of the government of Saudi Arabia to settle all unpaid claims of our OFWs.
In his speech, the President has emphasized the importance of continued efforts to ensure the well-being of our OFWs and outlined significant measures that will promote their welfare.
Some of the highlighted measures for OFWs include: ensuring a safe working environment for our OFWs and implementing responsive mechanisms for their welfare protection, repatriation, and reintegration; Placing a strong emphasis on the principles of fair and ethical recruitment and safe deployment of our OFWs; strengthening maritime higher education institutions to equip our seafarers with the necessary skills and knowledge to ensure their global competitiveness; Engaging partners in the international community to create more opportunities for our OFWs; Ensuring the skills and training of our seafarers are attuned to global standards; Anticipating a continuous increase in redeployment of our OFWs in the post-pandemic era.
For her part, OFW Party-list Rep. Marissa Del Mar Magsino thanked Marcos for mentioning the various accomplishments and continuing commitment of his administration in advancing the welfare and safeguarding the rights of OFWs.
This, in recognition of their hard work, sacrifices in leaving their families behind to work abroad, and their significant contributions to the economy with USD 32.5 billion or P1.8 trillion in remittances in 2022, solidifying their role in the country’s transformative economic growth.
Among other achievements, the President underscored the digitalization efforts of the government with the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) launching the mobile application for the on-line acquisition of the OFW Pass in lieu of the Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) which proved too difficult and tedious for our OFWs to secure, and the government’s engagement with partners in the international community to ensure fair employment and a safe working environment for our OFWs through bilateral labor agreements such as those recently inked with Singapore, Austria and Canada.
There was also relief and jubilation in the President’s announcement that the unpaid salaries and other related money claims of some 14,000 OFWs who have been put out of work in Saudi Arabia during the pandemic are already being processed by the Saudi government. Furthermore, the President highlighted the continued employment of some 50,000 and the deployment of more Filipino seafarers aboard European Union (EU) vessels, with the note to attune or maritime education and training in the country to the high, exacting and constantly evolving global standards.