The dollar remittances of Filipino seafarers rose by 12.43 percent to US$1.203 billion (around P67 billion) in the first 10 months of 2004 as the deployment of seafarers during the entire year also increased to 225,122 (+9,091) from 216,031 in 2003, Labor and Employment Secretary Patricia A. Sto. Tomas today reported.

According to Sto. Tomas, the global deployment of Filipino seafarers has posted a consistent growth in the past three years from 204,951 in 2001 as deployment first breached the 200,000 level, to 209,593 in 2002, then to 216,031 in 2003, and to 225,122 in 2004.

Complementing the growth in deployment, seafarers’ inward remittances also rose from US$1.093 billion in 2001, to $1.226 billion in 2002, and to $1.294 billion in 2003. On January to October last year, the seafarers remitted a total of US$1.203 billion which is 12.43 percent higher than the $1.070 billion they remitted in the same period in 2004. The 10-month remittance in 2004 has a monthly average of US$120 million. Using the figures, the 2004 remittances from the seafarers could yield an additional $240 million or more than $1.4 billion by year-end. This means that seafarers’ remittances in 2004 could be US$ 197 million higher than the 2003 remittances.

Sto. Tomas said the preference of the global shipping industry for Filipino seafarers has been strengthened by their skills and proven reliability that are strongly anchored on the seafaring standards of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

“The Filipino seafarers now comprise 25 percent of the global shipping industry’s manpower,” she stressed, adding, “this affirms the country’s compliance with the IMO’s stringent 1995 Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping (STCW).”

The labor and employment chief said that the Philippines’ compliance with the STCW is ensured by the DOLE’s Maritime Training Council (MTC) to enable the Filipino seafarer to qualify for employment in international shipping.

The MTC is an inter-agency government and private sector battery of ten DOLE and other agencies and two major private sector organizations representing the seafarers and employers chaired by Secretary Sto. Tomas with the MTC Secretariat headed by POEA Deputy Administrator and concurrently MTC executive director Ramon T. Tionloc, Jr. The agencies in the Council include the Commission on Higher Education, Maritime Industry Authority, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, Professional Regulation Commission, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, National Telecommunications Commission, Department of Health, and the Philippine Coast Guard. The private sector, on the other hand, is represented by the Filipino Association for Mariners’ Employment (FAME) and the Associated Marine Officers and Seamen’s Union of the Philippines (AMOSUP).

Meanwhile, TESDA, which is a key MTC member, certified in compliance with the STCW another 12,197 Filipino seafarers last year or a growth of 14 percent compared to the 10,700 seafarers it certified in 2003.

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