Bishop calls for support for stranded Filipino seafarers
Bishop Santos joins call for the repatriation of stranded Filipino seafarers
MANILA – Balanga Bishop Ruperto Cruz Santos called for prayers and support for 15 stranded Filipino seafarers in Guangzhou, China along with two Greek nationals.
In a statement released today, Bishop Santos said they know Filipino government officials from the Departments of Foreign Affairs and Labor and Employment and MARINA are working together to bring home the stranded seafarers who were abandoned by the owner of MV Angelic Power.
“We, at the Stella Maris Philippines are praying and offering our Holy Masses in different chaplaincies for their welfare and well-being, to be happily reunited with their loved ones,” said Bishop Santos, the CBCP’s Bishop Promoter of Stella Maris Philippines and the Chaplaincies.
He said the seafarers have suffered a lot and sacrificed for their families and even for their country.
Bishop Santos added to east the seafarers’ pain and solve their problems, he said the Catholic church need to assist them and intercede for them.
He called on the authorities to do everything they could for the seafarers to receive their long-delayed salaries and benefits.
“Their rights promoted and protected. Their dignity acknowledged and respected. And those who are responsible as placing and manning agencies be strictly held responsible,” he added.
Bishop Santos, concurrent Vice Chairman of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People (CBCP-ECMI), added seafaring is as uncertain as the seas as it is “always difficult and dangerous journey.”
He added the Church and Stella Maris Philippines, with the Departments of Foreign Affairs and Labor and Employment and MARINA, will answer the seafarers’ “SOS” popularly known as distress signal.
Sources disclosed the Department of Foreign Affairs are in regular contact with the distressed seafarers hoping to expedite their repatriation. The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) is coordinating with the local manning agency for the latter to fulfill its responsibility for the seafarers’ welfare and repatriation.
On the other hand, sources at the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) disclosed the seafarers would return home by July at the latest. (Melo M. Acuña)
Balanga Bishop Ruperto Cruz Santos, D.D. (CBCP Photo)