KAMAYA POINT, Bataan — “It was a message I have likened to a salient reminder, a guide, a compass that serves as a well-equipped lighthouse to seafarers in their voyage to professionalism and competence in the maritime and seafaring world.”
This, in capsule, was how Dr. Conrado F. Oca, President of Associated Marine Officers’ and Seamen’s Union of the Philippines (AMOSUP) described the gist of the message of Sen. Richard J. Gordon in an extemporaneous speech during the recent graduation of the 134-strong ‘Serezeons’ class of 2019 Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific (MAAP) at Kamaya Point, Alas-asin, Mariveles. The class brings to some 3,500 the number of graduates the academy has produced under the watch of its pioneer president VAdm Eduardo M. R. Santos AFP since its first batch of graduates in 2002.
Gordon, a known advocate of maritime and seafaring professionalism and safety, told the class during the commencement exercises last May 25, “The world will always step aside to let any man pass who knows where he is going. To you graduates, this is a turning point in your life!.
“Enrich the country, enrich its dignity! You enrich not only the pesos and dollars that people ahead of you do for the country to the tune of 19 percent of the remittances to the wh0le country, which is about US$6.5 billion or P355 billion. Above all, however, you are the advertiser ‘par excellence’ of the Filipino professionals,” he said, stressing: “Soon you ail will become ship captains and chief marine engineers and we want you to be the best in the world!”. “Money did not buy you here, that’s why you gave special thanks to the Japanese, Norwegians, the Germans of the day as they were the ones who paid for your education. “Above all to AMOSUP, born out of the vision of a man by the name of Gregorio Oca who created this great and very distinguished academy that opened its door for you, giving you the opportunity to achieve your profession to be competent and world-class, globally competitive merchant marine officers.
Gordon noted that the Philippines still ranks as among the best countries that sends able seamen throughout and this is why you have to protect, “as China is trying to overtake us.” However, he stressed, “I happen to think that the best sailors in the world are just right here in front me – that we can navigate ourselves into a new future that is based on teams, friendship and trust.”