The Report from the Stella Maris Center in Manila

Father Prigol, Scalabrinian missionary and Director of the Scalabrini Center for People on the Move (SCPM), worked and documented eighteen months of helping seafarers during restrictions and quarantines in the Philippines

Manila, October 14, 2021 – The Stella Maris Center in Manila, Philippines, has published the eighth report of the activities carried out since the beginning of the pandemic by the Scalabrinian entities in the area: the Stella Maris Center, the Ermita dormitory, the Scalabrini Center for People on the Move – SCPM (directed by Father Paulo Prigol, editor of the report) and the Pius dormitory.

Way Beyond Financial Aid

The Scalabrinian centers were closed on March 13, 2020: the report is intended to briefly document the eighteen months that have elapsed from that date to September 13, 2021. A period during which the Philippines experienced different types of quarantine, restrictions, and closures.

Thanks to the financial support of various institutions and individuals, the Scalabrinian centers have been able to support seafarers and their families. But the aid went far beyond the financial offer.

Stella Maris’ coordination and cooperation work with government agencies, with associations and crew agencies, with unions, with local industry and with stakeholders, for example, has allowed Philippine seafarers as of April 12, 2021, to be included in the priority list of the national vaccination program against covid-19 (and on August 16 the government announced that seafarers will be able to get an additional dose of the vaccine).

The Crisis Worsens

“The initial perception that seafarers were one of the main transmitters of Covid-19 is slowly fading – the report reads – The vaccination program for seafarers locally and abroad has been a key factor to change This perception. The same idea applies to the seafarers’ families. However, the economic crisis of the families is getting worse since the change of crew continues to be a major challenge.”

Stella Maris Manila chaplains celebrate a weekly online mass for seafarers in the dormitories and invite their respective families to join. The centers also hold regular Bible reading and prayer meetings. “Many seafarers are finding a source of strength and inspiration right now.”