Filipino sailors remitted over $1 billion in January-February 2019

MANILA, Philippines ­­– Filipino sailors on foreign vessels wired home $1.05 billion in remittances (P54 billion)* for the first two months of 2019, said the ACTS-OFW party-list group on Saturday, April 20. 

“We are cautiously optimistic about the future growth in the cash remittances from Filipino sailors, in light of assurances regarding their continued employability,” said ACTS-OFW Representative Aniceto Bertiz III.

The group said the January-February total was up 10.5% from $956.15 million (P49.4 billion) in the same two-month period in 2018.

ACTS-OFW earlier said that Filipino seafarers, who “serve on bulk carriers, container ships, oil, gas, chemical and other product tankers, general cargo ships, pure car carriers, cruise ships and tugboats around the world,” remitted a total of $6.14 billion (P317 billion) through bank channels in 2018.  

The United States, Singapore, Germany and Japan were the top sources of last year’s cash transfers.

"White List"

ACTS-OFW said that “Filipino sailors should have no difficulty landing jobs on foreign vessels and obtaining endorsements from other countries," if the Philippines remains on what is called the “White List” of nations kept by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The White List includes countries deemed compliant with the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW).

The Maritime Industry Authority (Marina), responsible for the implementation of STCW, had previously responded to a news report that the Philippines was at risk of exclusion from the IMO White List, possibly endangering the jobs of hundreds of thousands of Filipino seafarers.

On March 18, the Manila Times published an exclusive story based on reports “by industry sources” which it claimed was a copy of a minutes of the meeting of IMO sub-committee on human element, training and watchkeeping (HTW). The Times said the document indicated “the Philippines could be excluded" from the 'White List' of the IMO.

Marina clarified that the Philippines remains on the list based on IMO’s previous circulars. The government agency said it will "participate in the discussion and assert appropriate position" during the HTW 2019 session.

The partylist welcomed Marina’s initiative to bring in international maritime experts to assist in an independent audit of the Philippines’ compliance to global training and certification standards for sailors.

“Filipino sailors should have no difficulty landing jobs on foreign vessels and obtaining endorsements from other countries, provided that we stay on the list,” Bertiz said. – Rappler.com

*1$ = P 51.69