The birth of UFS is also parallel to the time in 1994 when Filipino seafarers were having difficulty getting their Seafarer Identification Record Books (SIRBs) or Seaman’s Books, whose function was abruptly transferred to the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) from the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), which took more than 20 years to familiarize itself with the process. As a result, instead of having the SIRB processed in one or two days, it has been delayed by over a month or so producing long queues of agonizing Filipino seafarers in front of MARINA offices. UFS hit the ground running in the issue as immediately after getting its registration from the SEC on October 14, 1994 as an association, it sought a Temporary Restraining Order from the court on the transfer the following day, which was granted, and status quo momentarily prevailed. Still, it did not deter UFS from holding daily rallies in front of MARINA offices to protest what was obviously an unpopular move on the part of the government that caused restlessness among Filipino seafarers. The UFS did not let up with its rallies until MARINA was able to process and release the Seaman’s Book in one day.

 

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