Ilonggo cadets hailed as 2018 Ten Outstanding Maritime Students of the Philippines

Tuesday, October 2, 2018, 6:09 p.m.
By Atty. Dennis R. Gorecho

One of the questions that I propounded as a judge to the candidates of the 2018 Ten Outstanding Maritime Students of the Philippines (TOMSP) was what single personal item will they bring in the event that they will have to abandon a sinking ship.

The question was in relation to the story of the 11 missing cadets involved in the unfortunate sinking of MV Starlite Atlantic off Tingloy, Batangas last December 2016 due to the onslaught of Typhoon Nina.

The answer given by Ken Arnie Tulmo of John B. Lacson Colleges Foundation JBLCF – Bacolod was his cellphone since this will in a way can also be used for survival purposes. Answers given by the other candidates include a rosary, bible, family pictures, official documents, ID card, and notebook with prayers, among others.

Cadets are required to undergo the apprenticeship period aboard an actual ship in order to expose students to the real-life applications of the concepts and techniques that they learned in the classroom.

For those on board ships engaged in an international voyage, a Standard Cadet Training Agreement took effect on August 25, 2013, to ensure compliance with the requirements of MLC 2006 in safeguarding the rights of and affording social protection for marine cadets while undergoing the mandatory shipboard training. It is almost a mirror image of the POEA Standard Employment Contract for seafarers. In contrast, there is no such standard agreement for those on board domestic ships, including the 11 missing cadets of M/V Starlite.

Elardo was later declared as one of the winners of the TOMSP that was announced last September 30, 2018, as part of the 23rd National Seafarers’ Day (NSD) led by Apostleship of the Seas (AOS).  Other Ilonggo winners are France Gerard Sentiment also from John B. Lacson Colleges Foundation – Bacolod and Ian Christian Elardo of Davao’s DMMA College of Southern Philippines.

The nationwide search started in 2010 and gave recognition to students for being academically excellent, highly competent in practice, in good moral standing and active in their respective communities. The chosen students are seen as the embodiment of the “ideal seafarer,” displaying “integrity, passion, assertiveness, dependability and camaraderie” that will allow them to become globally competitive Filipino seafarer.

Former president Fidel V. Ramos earlier issued on July 9, 1996 Proclamation No. 828 declaring August 18 as National Seafarers Day wherein the AOS was tasked to coordinate with the public and private sector in activities related to the celebration of the said event.

The purpose of the Proclamation is to give due recognition to the vital role of Filipino seafarers towards the development of the Philippines as a maritime country.

Later, Proclamation No.1094 was issued in 1997 by President Ramos which moved NSD to every last Sunday of September every year.

The theme for this year’s 23rd NSD is “Marinong Filipino: Kayamanan ng Lahi”.


The 2018 TOMSP winners are:

  1. Aison Belarmino, University of Perpetual Help System DALTA , UPHSD (Las Piñas);
  2. Ian Christian Elardo, DMMA College of Southern Philippines (Davao);
  3. Christian Gilbert Esteban, Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific (MAAP) – IMMAJ JSU (Bataan);
  4. John Paul Guevarra, Philippine Merchant Marine Academy PMMA (Zambales);
  5. Daimler Daves Nisco, Malayan Colleges (Laguna);
  6. Jancarl Gregory Palacio, University of Cebu – Lapulapu and Mandaue UCLM (Cebu);
  7. Carl Oscar B. Peña, Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific (MAAP) – IMMAJ JSU (Bataan);
  8. France Gerard Santamena, John B. Lacson Colleges Foundation JBLCF – Bacolod (Bacolod City)
  9. Junel Kristian. Semaña, Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific (MAAP) – CGSO (Bataan);
  10. Ken Arnie Tulmo, John B. Lacson Colleges Foundation JBLCF – Bacolod (Bacolod City)


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