Some 4,000 Filipino seafarers, maritime students and their families gathered Sunday for the 21st National Seafarer’s Day organized as a fitting tribute to the country’s maritime community.
Dubbed “Marinong Pilipino: Tatak ng Kahusayan, the event was organized by the Vatican-led Apostleship of the Sea, the Committee on the National Seafarer’s Day, Philippine Ports Authority and SM Global Pinoy to give importance to the invaluable contribution the Filipino seafaring community gives to the country.
“The aim of this occasion is to give due recognition to the vital role played by the thousands of Filipino seafarers towards the development of the Philippines as a maritime country,” Glenn D. Ang, Senior Vice President of SM Supermalls and Program Director of the SM Global Pinoy said.
The Philippines is the world’s capital source of seafarers with some 367,000 Filipino seafarers deployed all over the world. Filipino seafarers are the top choice in the international maritime industry because of their industry, compassion, resilience and good grasp of the English language.
The National Seafarer’s Day is an annual event that is celebrated every last Sunday of September under the Presidential Proclamation No. 828. This celebration started in 1997 and it has always been part of the National Maritime Week, which is done during the last week of September.
Also gracing the event were the sixty (60) foreign delegates of the International Christian Maritime Association (ICMA), who had arrived in the country to enable them to know the culture in order for them to assist Filipino seafarers wherever they are in the globe.
Fr. Bruno Ciceri, representative of the Apostleship of the Sea International at the Holy See’s Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People in Vatican City, said he is deeply grateful that they have been given the chance to lead the National Seafarer’s Day celebration in the Philippines.
He said members of the ICMA, an ecumenical association that assists sea workers, look forward to meeting the Filipino seafarers, maritime officials and students for them to be able to assist them when they are in other countries. “Many of the delegates are here in the Philippines for the first time and it a learning experience for them,” he said.
Ang said SM’s hosting of the event is their way of paying tribute to Filipino seafarers who are regarded as the top-ranked seafarers in the world. “We should all be proud because the Filipino seafarers are still preferred over others. You, our Filipino seafarers, our global pinoys, are hardworking, have a good grasp of the English language, responsible, competent and easy to work with. You, our global pinoys, are a cut above the rest,” he said.
The SM Global Pinoy program was created to give importance to Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) by giving them a place where they can stay connected with their families and spend quality time together.
Part of the program is the establishment of SM Global Pinoy Centers in select SM Supermalls. To date, there are 39 Global Pinoy centers in different SM malls all over the country.
Aside from the Center, SM Global Pinoy also conduct free educational seminars and activities that are relevant to its OFW members. Members are also entitled to exclusive perks & privileges from SM’s partner establishments nationwide.