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AMOSUP prexy: Do not discriminate vs HIV-positive seafarers


The president of the world’s largest seafarers’ union called on ‘all’ concerned in the maritime industry and seafaring sector to accord fair and equal treatment to seafarers who have been found  to be  positive of HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) and must be given the feeling of ‘normal’ life in work place and at home. ‘Do not discriminate (against) them!,” he appealed.

Conrado F. Oca

Conrado F. Oca

Dr. Conrado F. Oca, president and chairman of Associated Marine Officers’ and Seamen’s Union of the Philippines (AMOSUP), made the call to discard  the predator-like stigma of  fear, shame and discrimination on seafarers attacked by HIV, that include Filipino seamen.

In a statement, Dr. Oca, a doctor of medicine, said “let us treat fairly,   give  chance  and equal opportunity to our seafarers who are HIV positive, for  them and  to live  productive with healthy life,” and  “just like every one else not attacked by the virus”.  “I call on all concerned that we join hands and collectively move  to address this issue,” he said, noting an ‘increasing percentage’  of those diagnosed with HIV come  the maritime industry.

The AMOSUP led by Oca has joined stakeholders in according wholehearted support to the newly launched Positibong Marino Phils, Inc. (PMPI)-an organization duly committed to help seafarers facing the challenges  of being HIV-positive. He cited the initiatives of International Transports Workers’ Federation (ITF)  and Joint Manning Group (JMG) in collaborating with AMOSUP to accord all-out support to PMPI, for which PMPI headed by its  chairman deck officer (3rd mate), HIV-positive Jebson Rederri Go Gamida, is grateful. The AMOSUP, ITF and JMG hailed the courage  and strong heart of Gamida in coming out in the open in launching recently the advocacy-the first network of HIV-seafarers in the world.

The DOH has confirmed that the rise of HIV infection  in the Philippines magnifies the vulnerability of seafarers  to this  ailment  with big factors from ship environment on board that call on different ports, placing  Filipino seafarers at risk to many health hazards, that include  HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STI).If not treated, HIV can lead to AIDS (acquired immuno-deficien cy syndrome).

In appealing to the maritime industry and seafaring sector,   Dr. Oca said, “We must think positive. We must have an optimistic state of mind, and see the bright side of life, headed  for  harmony, happiness, improvement of relations and success in life.” “AMOSUP has always been   a champion of fair and equal opportunity for our seafarers farers, and  such spirit has always been at the core of our existence as a union.”

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