The number of Filipino seafarers who were deployed in 2021 is already almost the same those who boarded ships before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) said on Thursday.
“Nung tinitignan namin ‘yung datos namin ngayong 2021, lalong lalo na sa sea-based natin, ‘yung mga seafarers, ‘yung kanilang level of deployment halos pumapantay na sa pre-pandemic level,” POEA administrator Bernard Olalia said in a Balitanghali interview.
“Ibig sabihin, nakakabawi na tayo at unti-unti nang sumisigla muli ‘yung deployment natin sa seafarers,” he added.
When we were looking at our 2021 data particularly for the sea-based, we saw that the deployment of the seafarers is almost the same with the pre-pandemic level. This means that we are recovering and the deployment of the seafarers is gradually reviving.
The monthly deployment of seafarers have reportedly reached 40,000 a month. Pre-pandemic, it was almost 50,000.
Olalia explained that one of the reasons why it became difficult for some seafarers to get onboard in international shipping companies was the lack of face-to-face training due to the pandemic.
He said in-person training was one of the requirements for the seafarers to get a certification or an assessment of their skills and competencies.
“Pero unti-unti po, nabibigyan na ng solusyon ng ating marina,” Olalia said.
“Sila naman ay mabilis umaksyon sa kung pwede nilang i-extend at bigyan ng panahaon para makapag-comply ‘yung mga seafarers natin, ‘yun naman po ay kanilang ginagawa,” he added.
This is gradually getting resolved by the marine agencies. If there is a need to extend the deadline to give the seafarers enough time to comply with the requirements, they do so.
Olalia said the deployment of land-based OFWs had yet to reach levels before the pandemic although it was slowly getting there.
“Paunti-unti pong umaangat dahil po ‘yan sa pagbubukas ng mga merkado at dahil din sa vaccination program na ginagawa natin,” Olalia said.
It is gradually improving because of the opening of the markets and also because of the vaccination program that we are implementing. –Giselle Ombay/NB, GMA News