National Seafarers' Day scheduled Sept. 29
The Apostleship of the Sea, an arm of the CBCP Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (ECMI), is taking the lead in the National
Seafarers' Day celebration, an annual national event decreed through a presidential procla-mation and observed since 1997.
The celebration aims to recognize the hundreds and thousands of
Filipino seafarers serving in the domestic and international maritime industry.
This year's event, anchored on the theme "Marinong Filipino: Pamilya at Sambayanan Kaisa Ninyo!",
scheduled on September 29, will be highlighted by a gathering of seafarers and their families at the Quirino Grandstand, Rizal Park, beginning at 7 a.m.
Another highlight of this year's
observance is the Filipino Seafarers' National Convention (FSNC), set on September 27 and 28 at the Manila Hotel. The FSNC, organized and spearheaded by the Office of the Vice-President, is the first-ever
government-sponsored convention of its kind that caters to the welfare and interests of Filipino seafarers. Around 300 Filipino seafarers, industry players, non-government partners, policy makers and
government functionaries are expected to grace the event.
There are around 1.227 million seafarers in the world today, and of these, 20 percent are Filipinos. At present, there are around
204,951 Filipinos deployed, and 300,000 are on the waiting list. Since 1975, the Philippines has been the number one source of seafarers. Last year's remittances from seafarers reached US$1.08 billion or
more than 21 percent of the US$5.14 billion total remittances from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
The Episcopal Commis-sion for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People of the
Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (ECMI/CBCP) commends the government for the recognition of the major contribution of seafarers to the country's economy, the importance it gives to their
welfare as well as the welfare of their families, and the attention it desires to provide for the just and proper treatment of our Filipinos seafarers every-where.
"This concern, initiated
and sustained by Vice-President Teofisto Guingona, has led to this most anticipated event for Filipino seafarers," Bishop Ramon Arguelles, chairman of the ECMI, said. "It is our hope that Department of
Foreign Affairs and the Department of Labor and Employment will remain at the forefront of the quest to come out with the Magna Carta on Seafarers, which among others should include Guidelines for Seararers'
Progressive Edu-cation and Training, Licensure for Recruitment and Placement, Just Basic Wage, Safe Working conditions, Social Benefits, Occupational Health and Safety, Disciplinary Disputes, Fair Settlement
Procedure, Legal Assistance, Rights and Protection of Women Seafarers, Welfare Services and Facilities, Post-Employment and Repatriation, Rein-tegration and Replacement."