A glittering gala celebrations last November 9th ushered in the International Maritime Employers’ Council (IMEC) 10th Year anniversary of its cadetship program in the Philippines at the Hotel Jen, Manila.
Guests were in formal attire, a red carpet laid, celebrants catered to with fine dining.
Talented IMEC cadets from the Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific (MAAP) and Don Bosco Youth Center performed dances, songs and at the beatbox. On-the- spot, a MAAP cadet painted something unrecognizable but turned upside down was a portrait of IMEC Chair Rajesh Tandon —who was visibly overwhelmed.
IMEC Alumni 2nd Engr Mark Silerio and 3rd Engr Dyesebel Diaz proudly related their stories, both rooted on diligence and career success opened up by the IMEC cadetship program.
In 2003, partners IMEC, Intl Mariners Management of Japan (IMMAJ) and Intl Transport Federation (ITF) met in Japan to establish the International Bargaining Forum (IBF). Created was a sustainable business model to operate the programme. Payments into the IMTT and the Intl Maritime Training Fund are based directly on the number of Filipino seafarers employed under the agreement. The more Filipino seafarers employed, the more are trained.
In 2006, IMEC partnered with the Associated Marine Officers’ and Seamen’s Union of the Phil (AMOSUP) with an initial batch of 25 MAAP cadets endorsed by IMEC members.
In 2007, IMEC recruitment and training committees were created to “establish a means to ensure that training standards of cadets in the Philippines were enhanced to a consistently high standard…. to provide extensive bridging…”
In 2008, IMEC cadet program with MAAP was established together with a Phil office. MAAP signed a memorandum of agreement with the Univ of Cebu for the program.
By 2010, the cadets program had grown to some 400 cadets, creating a need to expand the team in Manila and establish a London Secretariat to oversee the IMEC training. To date 1,337 have graduated with 650 undergoing training exclusively managed by MAAP.
Plaques of appreciation were awarded to:
- AMOSUP Pres. Conrado Oca, the “… continues drive to improve the standard of Filipino seafarers and we look forward working with you and your team”
- MAAP Pres. R. Santos, VAdm AFP (Ret), “ for his strong leadership at the academy”
- Michael Estaniel, as “he was instrumental to finding the right officers and the staff…running local membership meetings”
The IMEC U.K. and Phil Offices were acknowledged to have “worked very hard to bring the program to what it is today” led by Adam Lewis, Head of Training & Operations and Training Manager Dan Aldrich Tolentino.
Dr. Oca was lighthearted, the audience taking to his humor: “My first encounter with IMEC was after my father died” and that meeting was a baptism of fire because we were poised to withdraw from the cadetship program. After a year or 2, they both saw the light and “alleluia!”, IMEC and MAAP partnered again.
MAAP once wrote IMEC the program is too regimented; IMEC tasked MAAP to do something about it. “So right now, instead of seeing during graduation, seeing marching all over the field, you’ll see hip hop dancing, hear singing, interpreted dance, and painting (laughter).”
But the good doctor ended with a tug at the heart, “…focus on the beautiful things in life. Life is too short to be wasted … Look at the solutions and not the problems. And be good even if others are not.”
Capt. Koichi Akamine, IMMAJ Chairman, presented Chair Tandon an ogi (Japanese fan) considered to bring blessings due to its shape when opened, “… to pay our deep respect to our senpai (comrade).”
Chairman Tandon cannot be out-done: “When God made the globe He made some special talents for a latitude of 121 East and 15 North and everybody in this country is talented…
Thank you, Philippines. Thank you for what you’ve done in the shipping industry.
Let’s put all our hands together for the Philippines… God bless you all …”