Cayetano urges gov’t to prioritize passports, vaccination of seafarers

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on whatsapp

Former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Friday called on the national government to prioritize Filipino seafarers in the issuance of passports and in the vaccination against COVID-19.

During the Seafarers’ Edition of Sampung Libong Pag-asa online program on June 25, Cayetano said the government must ensure the seafarers are ready when the operations of the shipping and cruise industries resume.

“Dalawa kailangan nila: [Una,] nakikiusap tayo sa mga kasama natin sa DFA kasi nagawa naman natin dati ‘yun – na maayos ‘yung passport system kasi pa’no ‘pag sinabing pwede na silang magtrabaho pero ‘yung passport nila ay wala pa?” Cayetano, who was Foreign Affairs Secretary from 2017 to 2018, said.

(Our seafarers need two things: first, their passports. We are asking the Department of Foreign Affairs if it can streamline the passport system like we did, because what will happen to our seafarers once the industry opens and they do not have their passports?)

“Secondly, ‘yung bakuna – kasi nga, nire-require na ‘to sa iba’t ibang bansa and tayo. Hindi tayo namimili ng bakuna, pero ‘yung ibang lugar around the world ay mayroong namimili, kaya ang nilaan talaga ng gobyerno natin para sa kanila ay ‘yung Pfizer,” he added.

(Secondly, their vaccination. While our country does not require certain brands for vaccination, other countries do – which is why the government decided to inoculate our seafarers with the Pfizer vaccine.)

Cayetano urged the government to provide immediate financial assistance to seafarers as he is certain they will be able to pay it back as soon as the industry is allowed to operate again.

“Pantawid lang naman ang hinihingi ng maraming Pilipino. ‘Yung nasa boarding house, ‘yung nasa pamilya nila sa probinsya, [at] ‘yung naghihintay na lang, sigurado naman silang makakasweldo. So, I think dapat maging mas progressive talaga ang ating mga ahensya, whether POEA, OWWA, DFA, na kung kailangan ng lima, sampu, o bente mil ang seafarers, pantawid lang, alam mo mababayaran ‘yan,” he noted.

(Our fellow Filipinos only need something to help them get by. Those living in boarding houses, those living with their families in the province, and those who are only waiting for their employers to call, I am certain they can pay as soon as they are employed. So I think our policies should be more progressive and give them P5,000-P20,000 cash aid.)

“Sana ‘yung pantawid projects ay lalo pang lumago,” he added.

(I hope our relief projects would grow.)

Meanwhile, Cayetano lauded the government for its “forward thinking” on the vaccination of seafarers.

“Happy ako dito sa seafarers kasi nga nag-think forward ang ating gobyerno na, kasi kung halimbawa, sabihin mong August [o] September, makakabalik na sila, saka mo pa lang babakunahan eh ano ‘yun, dalawang dose, tapos dalawang linggo ka pa maghihintay bago fully vaccinated,” he said.

(I am happy with the vaccination of our seafarers because this goes to show that our government thought ahead. Imagine what would have happened if the seafarers are called upon by their employers by August and September, and they are still not vaccinated. They would have to wait around two weeks for them to be fully vaccinated.)

“At least ‘yung ganitong klaseng thinking forward, so sana ganyan din sa pagnenegosyo. ‘Yung mga pwede natin ibigay na pang-ahon, hindi lang pantawid, ibigay na natin ngayon. ‘Wag na natin hintayin na matapos ang COVID-19 bago tayo tumulong,” he added.

(This kind of forward thinking should be incorporated in business. Let us give our seafarers the assistance they need if we are capable of giving it. Let us not wait for the COVID-19 pandemic for us to help.)

On June 25, the City of Taguig hosted the COVID-19 vaccination of Filipino seafarers at the Lakeshore Trade Center in Brgy. Lower Bicutan, Taguig City.

According to the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) Statistical Report for 2016-2020, a total of 217,223 seafarers were deployed overseas in 2020, which is 54 percent lower than the total number of deployed seafarers during the previous year with 469,996.

RECOMMENDED POSTS

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *