MANILA — Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday said government should help seafarers become deck officers with higher salaries through a cadetship program.
Robredo said representatives of the sector estimate that out of around 1 Filipino million seafarers, only 120,000 are officers. The Philippines is one of the world's top sources of seafarers.
"Ang layo ng sweldo ng opisyal saka hindi opisyal... 'Yong gobyerno sana tutulungan niya 'yong mga seafarers natin na magkaroon ng mga cadetship program sa mga paaralan natin," she told reporters.
"'Yung cadetship program kapag nag-graduate ka dito can- maka-qualify ka maging opisyal," she said during a COVID-19 vaccination program for seafarers at the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay.
(The salary of an officer is far from a non-officer. We hope government could help our seafarers have a cadetship program in our schools. Being a graduate of the cadetship program qualifies you to be an officer.)
More Filipino deck officers would also translate to higher remittances that can help the Philippine economy, added Robredo.
"Ngayon kasi konti, konti 'yung opportunities para sa mga Pilipino na mag-undergo ng cadetship program kasi konti, konti 'yung suporta ng pamahalaan dito," said the Vice President.
(Opportunities for Filipinos to undergo cadetship program are few right now because there is little government support for this.)
Government offers a subsidy of P7,500 per course under the Seafarer's Upgrading Program (SUP).
Robredo said her office in 2018 helped open a cadetship program in Bulan, Sorsogon, which produced 72 graduates in a year.
"Imagine kung sa isang maliit na bayan gaya ng Bulan makapag-graduate kami ng 72 a year, 'di dagdag 'yun sa mga pwedeng mag-opisyal. Kung magawa pa natin 'yun in many other parts of the Philippines ang laki talaga ng potential," she said.
(Imagine if in a small town like Bulan, we were able to have 72 graduates a year, those are additional potential officers. If we can replicate that in other parts of the Philippines, the potential is really huge.)
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