Vice President Jejomar C. Binay today reiterated the government’s commitment to uphold and protect the rights and welfare of Filipino seafarers.

“Bilang Presidential Adviser for Overseas Filipino Workers’ Concerns, tinitiyak ko po sa inyo na ang administrasyon ni Pangulong Aquino ay hindi nakakaramdam ng pagod pagdating sa kapakanan ng ating mga tripolante,” Binay said in a speech during the blessing and inauguration of the JSU-AMOSUP Maritime Museum and Sports Complex in Malate, Manila.

Binay cited different government programs like the Value Formation Seminars that help families deal with the absence or temporary separation from a family member. The program also offers psycho-social counseling and stress debriefing to help families whose members are stranded seafarers or victims of piracy and other sea disasters.

“Batid din po natin na ang sahod ng isang tripolante ay katas ng matinding pagod at paghihirap. Kaya naman upang tulungan silang mapalago ang kanilang inipon, nariyan ang ating Entrepreneurship Development Training program,” Binay said.

“Dito po tinuturo ang mga mahahalagang kaalaman sa pagtayo at pagpapatakbo ng negosyo. Kasama na rito ang pagbalangkas ng isang maayos na business plan,” he added.

Binay also stressed the importance of the OFW Family Circle program of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration. Through this program, the families and dependents of seafarers are organized to expand OWWA’s reach in the delivery of its programs and services.

He said these meetings also serve as a venue and opportunity for families to share experiences and draw lessons from experiences of others. This provides invaluable support to families who need added strength to cope with their separation from a loved one at sea.

“Upang matiyak na ang ating mga programa ay laging angkop sa pangangailangan ng ating mga mandaragat, tuloy-tuloy po ang mga ating konsultasyon sa mga pamilya ng mga tripolante, kasama po ang kanilang mga anak. Sa sama-sama nating pagtimon, tiyak na magiging maayos ang ating paglalakbay,” Binay added.

Binay said that the Philippines has become the “crewing capital of the world” and at any given time, there are about 300,000 Filipinos at sea all over the world.
According to the Vice President, Filipinos comprise 30% of the 1.25 million people working on ships.

“Our seafarers have lent so much strength to their homeland’s prosperity. They unfailingly contribute more than a billion dollars to our economy,” Binay said.

“Last year alone, their remittances stood at an astonishing $3.8 billion and it appears these figures will rise even further in the coming years,” he added.