Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles lauded Filipino seafarers as “the best and most trusted in the world” during the inauguration of a training vessel at Manila’s South Harbor on Thursday.
The Malacanang official addressed maritime industry leaders and stakeholders as the 78.6-meter and 750-ton M/V Kapitan Gregorio Oca, the country’s newest training vessel designed to further improve the skills of Filipino mariners was inaugurated into service.
The training vessel can accommodate 138 crew members with its service speed listed at 13.8 knots.
Built in Shizuoka, Japan, the M/V Kapitan Gregorio Oca sailed from Japan and arrived in Manila on January 24.
The ship will be used to train students of the Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific (MAAP) and other schools on various aspects of shipboard duties.
Nograles praised the ship as a symbol of MAAP’s commitment to pursue the highest levels of excellence in maritime education, adding that it likewise represented the government’s resolve to promote the best standards of safety and professionalism in the maritime industry.
“It’s common knowledge in government, the maritime sector, and beyond our shores that Filipino seafarers are world-class. They are the most sought-after seafarers in the global shipping industry. We are the first choice to man ships at sea, from luxury cruise vessels to giant tankers,” the Cabinet Secretary said.
“We are the first choice to man ships at sea, from luxury cruise vessels to giant tankers.”
Citing statistics from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Nograles pointed out that of every $100 dollars in personal cash remittances that the country receives from overseas Filipinos, $20 come from seafarers. Filipino sailors sent home a total of $1.9 billion from January to April in 2018.
The commissioning of the new training ship is the latest among government-encouraged and administration-led efforts to champion the cause of OFWs, considered “our modern day heroes.”
Nograles highlighted several key accomplishments of the Chief Executive that resulted in OFW welfare enhancement.
“Just over a year into the President Duterte’s term, Congress passed Republic Act 10928, which extends the validity of Philippine passports to 10 years. It’s a boon for seafarers who want to spend their shore time with loved ones instead of lining up for needed official documents.”
“It’s a boon for seafarers who want to spend their shore time with loved ones instead of lining up for needed official documents.”
“The DOLE has likewise established 17 One-Stop Shop Service Centers where OFWs can avail of government services. These One-Stop Shops have extended assistance to 1.22 million OFWs. The first-ever OFW Bank has also been created to respond to the financial needs of Filipino migrant workers and their families,” the former Davao lawmaker explained.
The commissioning ceremony was attended by officers of the Associated Marine Officers’ and Seamen’s Union of the Philippines (AMOSUP) and representatives from the International Mariners Management of Japan (IMMAJ), MIHO Shipyard Co., AJSU, the Phil-Japan Manning Consultative Council (PJMCC), and TSUNEISHI Shipbuilding Co., Ltd.
In his address, Nograles further mentioned the administration’s 10-Point Socio-Economic Agenda which called for heavy investments in human capital development, health and education systems, and the matching of skills and training to meet the demands of businesses and the private sector.
“The ultimate objective of this agenda, as spelled out in the 2017-2022 Philippine Development Plan, is a future where every Filipino enjoys security, prosperity and peace. Isang matatag, maginhawa, at panatag na buhay,” the Cabinet official said.