OFFICERS and members of the Association of Marine Officers and Ratings (AMOR) had staged a march and rally this morning to protest the killing of seafarers by the Somali pirates in Kalaw-Luneta and in front of the Department of Labor and Employment.
In a press statement, AMOR said the whole Filipino seafaring sector mourns the recent killing of Bosun Farolito Vallega, 48, by Somali pirates. A cook, Elviro Salazar, 26, was also reported missing and presumed dead already. The pirates had held captive the other crew of M/V Beluga Nomination from the Philippines and East European nations and their fate are still uncertain.
"The killing of Vallega is the first incident in history of seafaring in the Philippines. It should be noted that Vallega has been onboard to work and earn a decent living for his family. That he was gunned down without mercy is cruelty in the highest level as they killed a father and a model seafarer."
The group said they are concern with the safety of other seafarer hostages, who at the last count, numbered to 155 according to reliable report. Who are these 155 hostages? We do not know their names and we demand our government specially the Department of Labor, Department of Foreign Affairs and Malacanang to name them before it is too late. Please let us know their names for the benefit of their family, relatives and their fellow seafarers, they cried.
They also said that Vallega's killing is indeed a very sad story not only for his family but for all Filipinos as well. He represents the Filipino seafarers who had been onboard ocean-going vessels for years now, which at the last count numbered into 370,000 already or 28 percent of the world's fleet. We can not allow further killing of our helpless seafarers! Governments must do their best to coordinate with other nations to stop the pirates from harming or killing our seafarers. We have reached this far in seafarer supply because we are the best in the world. But, being the best should not mean our seafarers getting killed. We must be vigilant and we must be resolved to stop the pirates before they kill our seafarers.
AMOR said: "Give them arms for self defense. Better kill the pirates first before they kill us and our seafaring industry!"