Pinoy Seafarers Help
Buoy the Economy
By Marie Neri
Philstar, 26 July 2001

Despite the current financial crisis, seafarers were able to bring in dollar remittances to boost the ailing economy, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) reported yesterday.

According to Labor Secretary Patricia Sto. Tomas, seamen posted $218 million remittances for the first quarter of the year 2001.

"Filipino seamen manning the ocean-going ships have helped enhance international trade and economic linkages and have reinforced the country's contributions to international stability and growth," Sto. Tomas said.

Sto. Tomas noted that the efforts of the Maritime Training Council (MTC) and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to upgrade the skills of the seamen are also a factor in the entry of dollar remittances in the country.

"Efforts to improve academic and skills training in local maritime institutions have balanced the negative impression of overseas employment as a brain drain factor," Sto. Tomas added.

However, based on documents obtained from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, remittances of Filipino sailors decline by 0.31 percent against last year or from US$219,254 it dropped to $218,579 in 2001 (January to March).

The labor chief also attributed the positive remittances in the increase in the deployment of seafarers which went up by almost 3 percent for the first five months of the year.

DOLE records showed that from January to May a total of 84,840 Filipino seamen were deployed to several international vessels or a growth rate of 2.3 percent from last year's 82,864 during the same period.

Meanwhile, Sto. Tomas expressed confidence that remittances will further increase within this year after the country made it to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) "white list."


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