When the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) was still issuing the Seaman’s Service Record Book in the early 70s, the validation was good for only three years. Engr. Ramirez of the UFS sought to increase the validation period to five years after he and the UFS discovered that some Filipino seafarers were able to use their seaman’s books for only one shipboard contract. During those times, shipboard jobs were scarce and it takes Filipino seafarers a few months before they eventually get employed.
Shipboard contract duration then was normally one year and many Filipino seafarers exceed their contracts. When they vie for their next shipboard employment, it takes them another few months. The problem becomes obvious – employers require Filipino seafarers to have a valid seaman’s book for at least one year so that it would not expire before the end of their shipboard contracts.
The UFS president pushed for five-year validation of the seaman’s book because he also has a seaman’s book issued by the government of The Netherlands which has a validation of 10 years. He also has seaman’s books issued by the governments of Liberia, Panama and the Bahamas, all with five-year validation.
He wrote a letter to the Commandant of the PCG, and coursed it to the Cmdr. Amable Tolentino, who was the head of the Seaman’s Processing and Record Unit and subsequently, he got himself the first ever Philippine seaman’s book with five-year validation.