MANILA, Philippines – From world’s leading supplier of seafarers, the Philippines may soon become parking and dumping area for foreign vessels.
Labor Secretary Marianito Roque said the government is now promoting the country as lay-up and possible breaking area for old and dilapidated foreign vessels to generate local employment.
“We are looking into the possibility of offering our country as breaking area where old foreign ships can be dismantled piece by piece because this could be an employment opportunity for our workers,” he said.
Roque noted that owners of Japanese ships are currently in search for a breaking area.
“They have old ships that need to be docked permanently meaning, they will be dismantled, but they do not have a place to do it, so we are thinking if it’s possible to do it here,” Roque said.
He said the country had been used before as breaking area, but environmental groups objected because of the pollution it caused.
He added that labor officials also lured Japanese ship owners to lay-up their vessels in the Philippines as they await demand for additional cargo.
He said close to a hundred foreign vessels are now on lay-up here due to lack of cargo.
Meanwhile, the Blas Ople Policy Center yesterday pressed for the granting of conditional cash transfer for migrants affected by the ongoing global financial crisis.
The Center made the call to the government following reports that about 40,000 Filipino seafarers on board Japanese-owned ships could lose their jobs due to the crisis.
Susan Ople, center president, said extending the conditional cash transfer to overseas Filipino workers is necessary to keep the children of those affected by the crisis in school.
“Enrollment this year will definitely be affected by the slowdown in dollar remittances and a decrease in the number of Filipinos gainfully employed abroad,” Ople said.
She proposed that the Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration, Department of Education and Department of Social Welfare and Development enter into an agreement wherein displaced OFWs particularly those previously employed in vulnerable and less skilled occupations, can receive a monthly stipend for the incoming school year.–Mayen Jaymalin, Philippine Star