Seafarer groups accuse Marina chief of taking ‘unnecessary foreign travels’
The United Filipino Seafarers (UFS), an organization of 52,000-strong seamen and ship officers, urged President Rodrigo Duterte to act on the case of Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) Administrator Marcial “Al” Amaro III who had been accused of “jet setting” and “globe-trotting” several times using public funds.
In a Radyo Inquirer report, however, Duterte admitted that he has yet to act upon the complaint following a series of events that took most of his time, particularly the visits of places affected by storm Vinta in Mindanao and the mall fire in Davao City.
“Not yet. I have not been to the office since the… about four days ago, tapos nag-dalawang araw ako doon sa sunog,” Duterte said in a Radio Inquirer interview.
Last December 21, the group of seafarers submitted a complaint against the Marina chief for alleged several junkets using government money.
Amaro has yet to issue a statement regarding the allegations.
UFS President Engr. Nelson Ramirez urged Malacañang to immediately act on the case of Amaro citing the case of Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP) Chief Terry Ridon and its commissioners who have been dismissed due to unnecessary trips.
“PCUP head Ridon’s seven junkets is a pale in comparison with Marcial Amaro’s 11. That’s why we are asking for the president to act for this controversy,” Ramirez said in a statement on Wednesday.
The UFS also called on the Senate blue ribbon committee to conduct an investigation following the allegations made by the Alliance of Marina Employees that Amaro used public funds for his travels abroad.
“I am not surprised by these accusations. Noon ko pa ito napapansin dahil every time na kailanganin natin siya for consultation, eh nasa ibang bansa daw siya sabi ng mga staff niya for official trips. Are all of these are official junkets? Senate or Congress must intervene with this mess,” the UFS president said.
“As a maritime nation, we rely in the sprawling seas of the country so that goods will be transported safely. We also depend to our seafarers who were then the most sought after seafarers in the world. Pero paano ito mangyayari kung ang namumuno sa Marina ay nawawala dahil nasa ibang bansa? Kanino sila lalapit?” Ramirez added.
In a letter submitted to the office of the President, the Alliance of Marina Employees stated that Amaro “has defied President Duterte’s policy and humble pursuit of frugal governance and modest lifestyle by going on foreign junket trips for 11 times in 2017 alone.”
“Mr. President, Mr. Amaro is a disgrace to Marnia and it does not deserve an administrator with this jet-setting lifestyle. We humbly pray and ask that he be replaced immediately lest he be allowed to cause more harm and damage to our beloved institution,” the letter reads.
Last December 12, Duterte fired Ridon and PCUP Commissioners Melissa Aradanas, Joan Lagunda, Manuel Serra Jr. and Noe Indonto due to alleged “unnecessary trips and their supposed failure to hold meetings.”
One week after, Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) president Elba Cruz was also relieved from her position after employees of the educational institution accused her of “mismanagement and frequent travels abroad.” /jpv
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