Cash remittance of Filipino seafarers may exceed $6B this year – lawmaker

MANILA, Philippines – The cash sent home by overseas Filipino seafarers through banks was projected to breach the $6-billion mark this year amid mounting deployment, ACTS-OFW Representative Aniceto ‘John’ Bertiz III said on Monday, June 25, which was also the International Day of the Seafarer.

“The number of Philippine-educated sailors and other staff deployed on foreign ocean-going vessels, including those on cruise ships and floating casinos, is likely to surpass the 500,000-mark for the first time this year,” Bertiz said

“We expect the enlistment of Filipino sailors to increase along with international ship traffic, as the global economy continues to expand,” Bertiz said.

According to Bertiz, out of every $100* (Php5,344) in personal cash remittance that the Philippines receives from Filipinos abroad, $20 (Php1,069) comes from seafarers.

Citing figures from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Bertiz said Filipino sailors sent home via banks a total of $1.934 billion from January to April this year.

Potential downside

Bertiz, however, also warned of a “potential downside” due to the review being conducted by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) on the country's compliance with the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW). 

According to the lawmaker, the EMSA has been questioning the capability of the Philippines’ Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) to ensure enforcement of the STCW, which sets minimum qualification standards for ship masters, officers, and watch personnel.

The Integrated Seafarers of the Philippines said that failure to pass the EMSA review may adversely affect the deployment of some 80,000 Filipino sailors on European merchant ships.

“We are counting on Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero to manage the risks associated with EMSA’s audit and to build up compliance,” Bertiz said.

Guerrero assumed the post of MARINA administrator on April 30, 2018. – Rappler.com

1 USD = Php53.48*