THE Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (Owwa) in Davao region urged the public to pray for the safety of all Filipino seafarers, as the country celebrated on Monday, June 25, the National Day of Seafarers here in Davao City.
"We bring ourselves to continue praying for our men and women as they brave the high seas, not only for adventure, but with risky sacrifice to earn an honest means to support their families," Owwa-11 director Petrona Bergado said.
Bergado said Filipino seafarers earned the respect and tributes of the world as they show grit and determination in their chosen careers, as they move men and cargo to keep the industries of the world going.
Among the challenges that some seafarers had encountered were combating piracy in the sea; being unpaid for months due to bankruptcy; and abandonment by shipowners, with many spending months in crippled ships.
Other seafarers were detained due to violations against the Anti-Maritime Pollution Law in United States (US) while some were accused of organized crimes and smuggling and still others perished due to sea accidents.
"We also have compatriots who are languishing in faraway jails after conviction of drug trafficking and other crimes. A lot of challenges that they have to go through," Bergado said.
Bergado said the administration and its support groups also prayed for the remaining 22 seafarers of the Stella Daisy who are still missing after their ship sank in the Atlantic in March 2017. Only two Filipino sailors were rescued.
"Stories of successful rescue missions truly warm our hearts, in as much as real stories of tragedy pain us, as we strive to work for the welfare and protection of our seafarers and their families," she added.
The event was celebrated at the People’s Park spearheaded by the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) 11 and was attended by100 participants from its partnered agencies, academes, training centers, manning agencies and shipping companies.
Dubbed as: “Seafarers Wellbeing,” Bergado said the event aimed to recognize Filipino seafarers who greatly contribute to the country’s economy. The Marina-Davao initiated various activities like symposium-workshop in line with the celebration to make the year’s celebration a memorable and remarkable one.