In an effort to honor and encourage the hard work and dedication of the country’s future mariners, Western Union, a global leader in payment services, conducted its annual nationwide search for the top ten outstanding maritime students who have created a positive impact in their communities and whose stories serve as an inspiration to others.
This year, the best and brightest young, promising graduating maritime students were involved in the search. 30 out of 56 maritime schools nominated students who have shown academic excellence, competence in practice, good moral standing, and active engagement in serving the community.
Students were evaluated and given points according to their expertise in theoretical and practical application of Western Union’s and Filipino’s core values, and the four pillars of maritime law. The students’ schools were not revealed to the judgment panel. Among those who entered the search, the chosen top ten outstanding students who had exemplified the virtues of the ideal seafarer, exhibiting integrity, trustworthiness, honor, passion and courage, all came from the maritime schools located in rural areas.
“We have always believed in the Filipino seafarers. It is incredibly inspiring to see these young men and women, both from cities and rural areas sharing their passion and excellence in their craft. Even going beyond themselves by serving their country and supporting their families,” says Patricia Riingen, senior vice president, South and East Asia, and Oceania, Western Union. “It’s reassuring to know that we produce quality mariners here in the Philippines. Students are confident in presenting themselves and are driven to work their way up, leveraging on the skills they have acquired in school.”
The awarding ceremony for the top outstanding maritime students was held in the Manila Hotel on September 28, 2015 and was graced by the 2015 top outstanding students, National Seafarer’s Day steering committee, and the Western Union leadership team.
The Commission of Filipinos Overseas stated that, with over 400,000 Filipino seafarers employed worldwide, the Philippines is considered the primary source of seamen in the global shipping and transport market. Filipino seafarers account for a large portion of remittances to the Philippines and serve a vital role in the economic growth of the country. It is estimated that Filipino seafarers sent home $5.6 billion in remittances last year. Each year, this number grows as an estimated 280,000 students graduate from maritime schools nationwide.
List of top 10 outstanding maritime students in the Philippines (alphabetical order):
- Alvin M. Acuido, BS Marine Engineering, Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific
- Archie V. Artizona, BS Marine Transportation, Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific
- Angelo P. Decena, BS Marine Transportation, Philippine Merchant Marine Academy
- Florencio S. Deypalubos, BS Marine Transportation, University of Cebu
- Rey Phillip J. Gallos, John B. Lacson Colleges Foundation
- Mark P. Pagdato, BS Marine Transportation, John B. Lacson Maritime University
- Shiela R. Rosales, BS Marine Transportation, Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific
- Christian J. Santiago, BS Marine Engineering, John B. Lacson Maritime University
- Bernard M. Sorbito, BS Marine Engineering, John B. Lacson Colleges Foundation
- Val Ralph S. Velasquez, BS Marine Engineering, Philippine Merchant Marine Academy