By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Senator Cynthia A. Villar and daughter Las Pinas Rep. Camille Villar
yesterday served as among the hosts in the nationwide vaccination of
Filipino seafarers hardest hit by the pandemic.
The inoculation of around 250 seafarers was conducted at the
family-owned The Tent South Global City in Las Pinas.
Through the Office of Sen. Villar, The Tent was chosen by Maritime
Industry Authority (MARINA) as one of the sites in the simultaneous
nationwide vaccination of seafarers.
Once fully vaccinated, Sen. Villar said our seafarers can go back to
their job which was disrupted due to the coronavirus.
“Being protected against the virus, they can return to their ships and
voyage and earn a living for their families. They are also protecting
their families from potential infection in the process” said Sen.
Villar as she lauded Filipino seafarers on the 11th Anniversary of the
Day of the Seafarer.
“We note with pride how much the Filipino seafarer is valued by
shipowners around the world. We thank our manning agencies and shipowners
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,”
Sen. Villar said.
She recognized Filipino seafarer and their families for their
contribution to the Philippine economy amid the worst global pandemic
to hit the country resulting in a massive dislocation of local workers
and closures of business establishments.
In 2019, Filipino seafarers remitted US$6.5 million to the country.
With the pandemic, government data showed a slight drop in remittances
from overseas Filipino workers but not as steep as expected since OFWs
continue to send more to their families.
Amid the global health crisis, the country’s maritime sector continued
to deploy Filipino seafarers who remain in great demand for their
skills and hard work. The Bureau of Immigration reported that it
processed and cleared more than 112,000 seafarers who joined or left
their ships last year.
“We are happy to note the continued recovery of the seafaring sector;
thanks to the partnership between and among our foreign ship owners,
manning agencies, and government agencies such as the POEA and
MARINA,” she said.
The lady senator noted the continued supply of Filipino seafarers to
the world keeps global trade going. “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.”
She emphasized that the vaccination program for seafarers will ensure
that our 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% of
the 1.5 million seafarers in the world.
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 (STCW) hosted
by the Philippines in June 2010.
Meanwhile, Sen. Villar and Rep. Villar, said their family have
launched many initiatives to help the government accelerate its
vaccination program since its rollout last March.
Acknowledging the collaborative efforts to fight the virus, Sen.
Villar 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.
The IATF, through the Department of Health (DOH), gave to Marina the
United States-made Pfizer-BioNTech jabs administered to seafarers to
be deployed abroad since it is the required brand in their
With the approval of Sen. Villar, Las Pinas General Hospital and
Satellite Trauma Center (LPGHSTC) medical director Dr. Rodrigo Hao
said domestic seafarers were given Sinovac-CoronaVac vaccine which
came from said hospital.
Majority of the vacines 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 the Filipino seafares 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