A two-day Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Awareness Campaign updated the seafarer public in Luneta Park, Manila of MPHRP’s programmes and services led by MPHRP Regional Director for Philippines/Southeast Asia Rancho Villavicencio and MPHRP Assistant Programme Director Hennie la Grange, July 23-24.
In partnership with SEACOMS Maritime Development International, Inc., the Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Programme Philippines held its awareness campaign for the second time in Manila where a seafarer crowd was gathered to be informed of the programme’s existence and how MPHRP assists piracy survivors and their families locally.
As MPHRP Philippines continues to build its alliances with the government, industry, unions and faith-based organisations to assist our seafarers and their families affected by piracy, the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) Administrator Dr. Maximo Mejia, Jr. graced the event with an inspirational message on July 23. Dr. Mejia stressed the support that the maritime industry would extend in reaching the needs of the Filipino seafarers in cases of piracy incidents. Represented by the Marketing Branch Director Levinson Alcantara of the Philippine Overseas Employment
Administration (POEA) on July 24, Dir. Alcantara also expressed their upkeep in regards to their responsibility as a government agency working hand-in-hand with MPHRP Philippines for the welfare of the Filipino seafarers and families.
MPHRP Regional Director Rancho Villavicencio highlighted the programme’s before, during and after piracy incident free services that all seafarers and families affected can avail. Mr. Villavicencio also mentioned his visits to the families of our seafarers who are still under the hands of the Somali pirates, reassuring them and giving them comfort while also assisting them in their basic needs. Hennie la Grange, MPHRP Assistance Programme Director then explained how the humanitarian programme was established, the purpose of its existence for the benefit of all the seafarers around the world, and the importance that all piracy survivors must be given the proper care from the incident. Mr. la Grange also put emphasis on the SeafarerHelp hotline, which unfortunately none from the crowd knew about it.
Piracy survivors from MV Eglantine emotionally testified on their experiences at sea while being held captive by the Somali pirates and how traumatic the experiences were for them. They were diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) but were given the appropriate mental healthcare of MPHRP. They also testified on the help and financial assistance on their basic needs they received from the Programme and reiterated how their dignity was restored in starting a new life with their families. Legal matters on seafarer rights in relation to the benefits of the survivors were also raised in the Q&A part of the program, which was backed up by Attorney Henry Zamora of the Associated Marine Officers' and Seamen's Union of the Philippines (AMOSUP) Legal Department.
The campaign was sponsored by Nautica Filipino Lending Corporation, Alster Shipping International Shipping Services, Scanmar Maritime Services, Inc. and Globe Telecom. MPHRP also partnered with Associated Marine Officers' and Seamen's Union of the Philippines (AMOSUP), Luneta Seafarers' Welfare Foundation (LUSWELF), Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific (MAAP) in the success of this initiative.