Consistent with its broad and unwavering advocacy for seafarer’s rights and welfare, UFS declared a three-pronged mission to:
- Study, evaluate, articulate and act promptly on the issues of the maritime industry as they relate to and affect the Filipino seafarers.
- Fight for significant changes in the structure, conduct and processes of the maritime industry as they relate to and affect the seafaring profession.
- Promote a just, comprehensive, responsible and dynamic maritime industrial peace.
Towards these tasks, this forms the heart of the UFS mission, the union vowed to relentlessly implement a new kind of vigilance and a different brand of dedication that knows no bounds when it comes to the welfare of seafarers. Thus, even non-members of UFS benefited a great deal through this advocacy and deliberate action, to initiate meaningful changes in the profession. At times, even non-seafarers gained from the union’s fight for genuine reforms.
As a proof, the unceasing efforts of UFS for the elimination of extraneous (and redundant) impositions on seafarers, like the airport terminal fee and income taxes, compelled UFS to bring the matter to the halls of Congress in 1995. Engr. Ramirez personally made representations with then Speaker Jose de Venecia who gave him the assurance that Congress will act on the UFS request. The following year, Congress passed a law exempting all overseas Filipino workers from paying airport terminal fee and income taxes.
This victory gave UFS impetus in its drive to further promote the interests of seafarers. With a victory that benefited not only the profession it vowed to serve, but all of the more than eight million overseas Filipino workers, UFS gained more strength and influence. Still, the union declined to rest on its laurels. As Engr. Ramirez puts it: “With every victory comes a new challenge.”