By Marita Moaje

NEGOTIATION. Migrant Workers Secretary Hans Leo Cacdac and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Chief Arnell Ignacio meet with the family of the missing seafarer of MV Tutor in Pasay City on Thursday (July 4, 2024).  Ignacio said that the OWWA is currently negotiating with the ship’s manning agency for the compensation of the family of the missing seafarer.  (Photo courtesy of OWWA)

MANILA – The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) is negotiating with the manning agency of the “missing” seafarer of the Liberian-flagged bulk carrier MV Tutor attacked by Houthis last month.

OWWA Administrator Arnell Ignacio in an interview with the Philippine News Agency on Friday said that they are working out a higher compensation for the family.

He added that OWWA had already provided financial assistance to the family of the missing seafarer when they visited the agency in Pasay City on Thursday.

“Binigay na namin yung mga pangangailangan nila, and then arranged na rin yung para sa iba pa nilang benefit.  Kasi pag lumubog yung barko eh nasa area ng giyera yan (We have provided their needs, and then arranged for their other benefits.  Because when the ship sank, it was in a war zone),” Ignacio said.

He said that the family already received PHP220,000 in financial assistance.

OWWA is also arranging for a scholarship for the youngest child of the seafarer who will be turning 18 soon.

“Marami pa yan kasi ako ang nakikipag-usap sa manning agency para lalong mas malaki ang makuha nila, ina-arrange at kinakausap namin (There will be more entitlements because I am personally negotiating with the manning agency so they can get more, we’re arranging and talking),” Ignacio said.

“I told them na kailangan na mas malaki ang makuha (that they should get more) because of the extraordinary circumstances (that the seafarer experienced),” he added.

The MV Tutor, with 22 Filipino crew onboard, was attacked by Yemen’s Houthi rebels on June 12 while traversing the Red Sea. Twenty-one of them returned home on June 17. 

The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW)declared the remaining seafarer as “missing”.

However, on June 18, the ship was no longer seen on the sea and was announced to have sunk.

Despite the situation, DMW Secretary Hans Leo Cacdac said that they could not confirm the death of the missing seafarer, adding that the shipowner committed to conducting a search operation to find the remaining crew member. (PNA)