MANILA – The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), together with all its Regional Offices and maritime stakeholders, conducted a simultaneous nationwide vaccination for domestic and overseas Filipino seafarers in the celebration of the Day of the Seafarer 2021 yesterday, 25 June 2021.
This year’s campaign calls for a #FairFuture4Seafarers, encouraging governments and world leaders to provide support by ensuring that fair treatment and working conditions are granted for seafarers all around the globe.
3,120 FILIPINO SEAFARERS INOCULATED IN SIMULTANEOUS NATIONWIDE VACCINATION
A total of 3,120 Filipino seafarers, both domestic and overseas, got their first jab of anti-COVID-19 vaccines in simultaneous nationwide inoculation activities on the Day of the Filipino Seafarer. The population was a mix of overseas seafarers, who are scheduled to go on to their next voyage in the next few months, and domestic seafarers.
Seafarers received their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine which is among those brands preferred by Western employers. The doses were provided by the Department of Health (DOH) and were administered through the cooperation of the AMOSUP and ALMA. The seafarers were endorsed by their manning agencies as they would be deployed in the next four months.
Senator Christopher Lawrence ‘Bong’ T. Go and National Task Force against COVID-19 (NTF) chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. paid a visit to the AMOSUP Sen’in No Le Building in Intramuros, which acted as the facility for the mass vaccination on the DOTFS in Manila. They personally extended their greetings and recognition for the seafarers present.
Sen. Go, a known advocate for the welfare of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the legislative branch, assured the seafarers that he would continue to uphold their rights and the benefits due to them as ‘heroes.’ He also emphasized that getting vaccinated would be a great help to the Philippine Government in its fight against COVID-19. As a simple gift, Sen. Go distributed groceries and food packs to the seafarers at the venue.
For his part, Sec. Galvez honored the Filipino seafarers for their service and ensured that they would be prioritized as more Western vaccines arrive in the country, as seafarers are fairly more vulnerable to the threat of the deadly COVID-19 disease.
Meanwhile, a lot of seafarers were also vaccinated in other parts of the country with the MARINA Regional Offices’ leadership in cooperation with the DOH and their Local Government Units (LGUs). 20 were vaccinated in MRO 1&2’s vaccination activity; 60 in Batangas City under MRO 4; 25 in Masbate City and Legazpi City under MRO 5; 91 in Iloilo under MRO 6; 35 in Cebu City and Mandaue City under MRO 7; 33 in Tacloban City under MRO 8; 20 in Zamboanga City under MRO 9; 11 in Cagayan de Oro City under MRO 10; 150 in Davao City under MRO 11; and 44 in General Santos City under MRO 12.
Other MROs have already conducted their vaccination activities the day prior, with MRO 13 inoculating 11 seafarers in Butuan City, and MRO 7 at 25 in Mandaue City.
More vaccination sites in Metro Manila include AMOSUP Manila where 520 seafarers got their first dose of the vaccines, Lakeshore Hall in Taguig City serving 468 seafarers, and 1,080 in Las Pinas City.
CELEBRATION OF THE DAY OF THE SEAFARER IN THE MARINA CENTRAL OFFICE
Among the highly esteemed officials who graced the event were Guest of Honor Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” T. Go and Special Guest National Task Force against COVID-19 (NTF) chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr..
STCW Executive Director VADM Rene V Medina AFP (Ret) welcomed the guests with his opening remarks. “Today, on the day of this Day of the Seafarer, we acknowledge all seafarers, especially Filipino seafarers, who operate the ships and bring cargoes safely to their destination, regardless of the conditions they have to face. Without seafarers, living in this time of health crisis will be a lot harder.” He said, stressing the importance of seafarers as essential workers and highlighting how the MARINA has continued to pursue more opportunities to ensure the safety and continued employment of Filipino seafarers. “So much has been done, but so much remains to be made for the benefits and well-being of our seafarers.”
One of the highlights of the Day of the Seafarer 2021 is the awarding and recognition of seafarers and maritime organizations who have been made noteworthy contributions in the past year. The MARINO Party List, Association of Licensed Manning Agencies (ALMA), and the Associated Marine Officers and Seafarers’ Union of the Philippines (AMOSUP) were part of the organizations who have been recognized for their major feats in helping seafarers who have been affected by the ongoing pandemic.
Similarly, Capt. Marlon Quiñones of MV Athens Bridge, Eng. Nelson Ramirez, and the officers and crew of MV Fleur N were also recognized for their acts of bravery and continued advocacy for the rights and welfare of seafarers.
In line with the Day of the Seafarer 2021, the Search for the Ten Exceptional Bravery at Sea Awardees was also launched. This online search calls for the nomination of Filipino seafarers who have exhibited extraordinary acts of bravery and seamanship skills during events that occurred from August 2020 to June 2021. The ten (10) selected seafarers will be awarded in the coming National Maritime Week Celebration to be held later this year.
Afterwards, Sec Galvez shared his thoughts during his message. In his speech, he praised Filipino seafarers for enduring one of the most difficult professions. “Hindi biro ang mga pinagdadaanan ng ating mga manglalayag habang sila ay nasa laot. Nariyan na rin ang hamon na dulot ng COVID-19 na nakaka-apekto sa kanilang deployment,” he said.
The NTF Vaccine Czar also regarded Filipino seafarers as modern-day heroes. During his message, he cites that the Philippine government continues to push for the prioritization of seafarers in the national vaccination program.
As the program drew to a close, MARINA Administrator VADM Robert A Empedrad introduced Guest of Honor Senator Go.
“Ipinaglaban namin na maisama ang mga seafarer sa priority list. Kung mahal niyo pamilya niyo, magpa-bakuna na kayo!” Senator Bong Go said, urging Filipino seafarers to get their jabs before departing for employment. “The Duterte Administration loves and cares for our seafarers. Through the MARINA, we have been working hard to provide concrete plans of action, to ensure that seafarers are looked after during this difficult and challenging time,” he added.