TAGUIG CITY, June 25, 2021 — Former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Friday urged the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to offer livelihood program training to families of Filipino seafarers so they can invest the remittances on a business, enabling seafarers to retire from overseas work early.
“Kasi ang napansin ko, ang pamilya minsan nakaasa d’un sa OFW. Pero pwede kasi na habang kumakayod — sabi nga eh ‘kayod marino’ — ‘yung ating mga OFW, meron po sa pamilya na pinag-aaralan na ‘yung negosyo na gusto n’ung pamilya n’ya,” Cayetano said during the Sampung Libong Pag-Asa program in celebration of this year’s International Seafarers Day, June 25.
(I’ve noticed that many families depend solely on the OFW member. But it’s possible for them to prepare for the business they want while the OFW is working hard.)
He said it is important that the families “put to good use” their seafarer family member’s savings especially since many Filipino seafarers want to work at sea for 15 to 20 years only.
“After a while sasabihin nila ayaw na nilang malayo sa pamilya nila, gusto man lang nila college ang anak nila makita man lang nila at ‘yung inipon ay magamit nang tama,” the former Speaker said.
(After a while they will say they don’t want to be away from their families, that they want to be able to see the fruit of their labor and that it is being used properly.)
To honor their contributions to the Philippine economy, Cayetano and his allies in Congress on Friday distributed P10,000 in cash aid to 200 Filipino seafarers who either have been on the shipping company’s waitlist for at least six months or were supposed to go on board already but were forced to wait indefinitely due to different reasons, including the different COVID-19-related restrictions in ports.
The beneficiaries came from Quezon City, Caloocan, Taguig, Manila, and other parts of the country.
“Wala kaming source of income kundi makabalik sa dati naming trabaho (We don’t have a source of income if we can’t go back to our old jobs),” Jose Ramping, one of the beneficiaries who has been waiting for a deployment slot for six months, said.
He said his wife is also currently jobless and his family in the province is only living off of his savings.
Having encountered similar stories, Cayetano also called on the different government agencies to raise their respective emergency cash subsidies for seafarers.
“Sigurado naman silang (seafarers) makakasweldo eh. So I think, dapat maging mas progressive po ang ating mga ahensya, whether POEA, OWWA, DFA, na kung kailangan ng five, 10, 20 thousand pesos ang seafarers pantawid lang po, [ibigay natin],” he said.
(They are sure the seafarers will eventually receive their salaries. So I think our agencies like the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, Department of Foreign Affairs should be more progressive and provide 5, 10, or 20 thousand pesos to our seafarers to help them through.)
“Kasi kung hindi mo pinatawid, grabe po ang hirap na idudulot sa pamilya. Halimbawa po nagkasakit sila, eh ‘di hindi na sila makakaalis, eh ‘di lalong problema ng gobyerno ‘yung buong pamilya nila,” he added.
(If we don’t help them, their families will suffer immensely. If they get sick and cannot leave for work, then the families will become a burden to the government.)
Cayetano and his allies launched the Sampung Libong Pag-Asa program on May 1 to provide struggling Filipino families with P10,000 in cash aid to help them meet their daily needs while having enough left to put up their own small businesses.
Since then, the program has helped 3,000 families from all over the country.
Prior to the Sampung Libong Pag-Asa, Cayetano and his allies had filed the 10K Ayuda Bill which aims to distribute P10,000 in cash assistance to every Filipino family.
It was procedurally considered under the House-approved Bayanihan 2, but the P10,000 per family provision was not adopted.