CLAIM: Various posts on Facebook are saying that presidential candidate Vice President Leni Robredo has belittled seafarers in a statement during the first presidential debate organized by the Commission on Elections.
In a Facebook post on March 22, Filipino mariner Lacruiser Relativo quoted Robredo as saying, “‘Yung maritime, grabe ang opportunity dito pero ang skills kulang.”
He then claimed that Robredo was “discrediting and demeaning” Filipinos in the maritime industry.
The claims posted by Relativo, as well as on other Facebook pages, are misleading.
The posts are only focused on a one-liner that Robredo said at the presidential debate held last week.
At the debate, the presidential aspirants were asked about their plans to provide adequate jobs for Filipinos, especially those who have not graduated college.
In her answer, Robredo pushed for declaring an education crisis in the Philippines, noting that the quality of education must be improved by bumping the sector’s budget to 6% of the country’s gross domestic product from 3% as recommended by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
“Itaas natin yun budget natin sa education. Meron pong recommended po yung UNESCO, hanggang 6%. Ngayon 3% lang yung ating budget, 3% lang ng ating GDP. Itaas natin to 6% para matutukan po natin yung mga items na dapat matutukan. Yung number one, kailangan askisahin natin yung ating mga teachers. Ang salaries po ng mga teachers natin, hindi competitive kumpara sa ibang mga lugar. Nilulunod natin sila sa mga administrative work na dapat nakatutuok sila sa instruction. Dapat yung trainings nila tuloy-tuloy para mapoproduce nila ng mga better quality na mga estudyante.”
“Malaki po yung disconnect ng curriculum natin sa industry. Example ko na lang po dito, Yung BPO. Ang daming trabahong available pero walang nagk-qualify. ‘Yung maritime, grabe pa yung opportunity dito pero yung skills kulang. Yung atin pong pagtutok system dapat maglagay tayo ng mga regional excellence centers para nasusuit natin sa lugar yung tamang kinakailangan nung lugar.”
According to the European Maritime Safety Agency Outlook for 2022, the Philippines has a total of 30,615 seafarers working in vessels flagged by the European Union (EU).
Sen. Joel Villanueva earlier this month warned that the EU’s recognition for Filipino seafarers are in danger of being revoked if the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) would still not be properly implemented in the maritime education, training, and certification systems within the country.
This means that over 30,000 maritime workers could lose their jobs if the EU recognition of Philippine-issued STCW certificates was revoked, prompting Robredo to include the maritime industry in one of the sectors that should be given priority.
The first EMSA audit was conducted in 2006, with results showing that there are Philippine maritime training institutions that were non-compliant to the STCW.
For the years 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2017, the EMSA found the same results and this year’s audit will determine the final decision before the EU revokes its recognition of the country’s STCW institutions due to non-compliance.
Meanwhile, the maritime industry is not only composed of seafarers. It also includes naval architects, engineers, and shipbuilders, among others.
Why it matters
Relativo’s post insinuating that Robredo demeaned seafarers has so far garnered over 21,000 Facebook reactions and 23,000 shares as of writing.
Meanwhile, another post similar to Relativo’s claim, posted by Francis Escobia, earned over 12,000 Facebook reactions. Of which, 7,100 were laughing reactions, 2,800 were crying reactions, 1,700 were likes, and over 300 were angry reactions. The post has circulated on the platform more than 38,000 times.
Some of the online users agreed with Relativo and Escobio’s claim, hurling offensive comments against Robredo.
“Korek! Tumpak na tumpak, sir!” a Facebook user replied to Relativo’s post.
“Yeah. Low talaga pananaw niya. At siya ay low-tang din,” another online user commented on Escobio’s post. This comment garnered over 400 reactions.
Another commented, “Isip-isip muna Leni bago bumato nang salita, nabawasan na naman popularidad mo.” This comment garnered nearly 300 reactions.
This story is part of the Philippine Fact-check Incubator, an Internews initiative to build the fact-checking capacity of news organizations in the Philippines and encourage participation in global fact-checking efforts.
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