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Philippines manning agent commits to HIV/AIDS initiatives

15 Oct 2015
Following consultations with the ITF, major Philippines-based manning agent Magsaysay Maritime Corporation has announced a number of forward-looking initiatives on HIV/AIDS and seafaring.

Magsaysay, which provides employment to 40,000 seafarers, has agreed to collaborate with the ITF to promote awareness and boost job opportunities for HIV-positive Filipino seafarers.

The ITF will provide technical support to help Magsaysay make its pre-departure orientation sessions (PDOS) on HIV/AIDS more interactive and user-friendly, including inviting the its PDOS trainer to the ITF’s HIV/AIDS training program in Cebu in February 2016.

The ITF and Magsaysay will collaborate to observe World AIDS Day on 1 December. The ITF will provide its campaign materials for use in the agency’s head and branch offices, and Magsaysay will produce its own HIV poster and other materials for Fairmont Shipping vessels and training facilities.

The agency will also explore how to remove the barriers to employment faces by HIV-positive seafarers, so that job opportunities depend on qualifications and medical capacity. It will review the placements of employed HIV-positive seafarers to see whether it would be appropriate to bring them on shore or within domestic tonnage to make it easier to access immediate medical care if required.

Magsaysay president Marlon R Roño said: “With over 700 new HIV infections a month in the Philippines, it is high time that we break the silence around HIV/AIDS and start taking proactive action.

“As a responsible employer dedicated to seafarers’ welfare, we will start a dynamic internal campaign to remove prejudice and fear of people who are HIV positive.”

ITF maritime co-ordinator Jacqueline Smith welcomed Magsaysay’s commitment and said the ITF looked forward to working with the company to keep Filipino seafarers safe from HIV/AIDS. She added that she hoped it would inspire other agencies to take similar action.