Filipino seafarers are among the bravest in the world, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said on Sunday.
Bello extolled the seafarers as he led officials in the warm welcome for the two survivors of the ill-fated cargo ship that sank off the turbulent waters of southern Japan early this month.
Bello also lauded Chief officer Eduardo Sareno and deck crew Jay-nel Rosales for their courage and will to survive the violent seas.
“I admire the never-say-die attitude of our seamen in the face of great danger, a trait common to many Filipinos particularly our OFWs,” Bello said.
“Filipino seafarers are one of the bravest in the world. That’s why many employers prefer their company at sea,” he added.
Sareno and Rosales were flown home Saturday via Philippine Airlines from Tokyo after undergoing medical checkups and spending weeks in hotel quarantine in accordance with health protocols in Japan to prevent the spread of corona virus.
The two are awaiting their Covid test results before they are brought to their hometowns.
The two were rescued by the Japanese Coast Guard days after Panamanian-registered M/V Livestock 1 experienced engine trouble in high seas amid one of the strongest typhoons to hit Japan in years.
The rest, except one, in the 43-man crew of the cargo vessel remain missing without a trace, according to Coast Guard of Japan.
The human remains of Filipino crewman Joel Canete Linao were flown home on Friday. Bello said the government will provide the full support to the two survivors and the families of Linao and those still missing seafarers.
“They will get help from government in the form of livelihood assistance and other benefits,” Bello said.
“We are also looking at possible job opportunities for them in other shipping companies in case they want to get back at work as soon as possible,” he added.
The Labor Department has started coordinating with foreign employers who are in need of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), Bello said.
These are companies in countries where restrictions have been eased due to improving health conditions, he added.