ASSMDA is an independent, not-for-profit organisation headquartered in Manila, to support the dependents of ASSM seafarers and to work with the local communities on educational, social and civic projects.
SPO provides ongoing assistance for the monthly operating costs of ASSMDA through joint funding with our sister company, The China Navigation Company. ASSMDA provides voluntary assistance to our seafarers' families in times of need and aims to improve their livelihoods through organising value-added social activities such as making candles, dishwashing liquids, fabric conditioners and bracelets.
Throughout 2020, ASSMDA conducted several activities in aid of seafarers' families and local communities, ranging from relief operations to assisting with the distribution of COVID-19 suitable Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to communities. This social support was especially useful and necessary in a year when many seafarers were unable to be relieved on time due to pandemic travel restrictions, and thus were apart from their families for extended periods.
The eruption of Taal Volcano in Batangas, the Philippines on 12th January 2020 spewed ashes across Calabarzon, Metro Manila, and some parts of Central Luzon and Ilocos Region, resulting in the suspension of school classes, work schedules and flights.
The provincial board of Batangas declared the province under a state of calamity following the eruption, and ordered the evacuation of residents within a radius of 14 kilometres from the volcano.
On 13th January, ASSMDA's Board approved a relief operation for ASSM seafarers and communities directly affected by the eruption. Packing of the relief items was done by volunteers, ASSM cadets and ASSMDA members.
Recycled 'Katsa' bags were used for packing which were previously made as ASSMDA's livelihood products. Distribution in various locations in Batangas and in the relocation zone for affected families was completed on 26th January.
The rapid onset of COVID-19 restrictions and local community quarantine requirements throughout the Philippines due to the global COVID-19 pandemic severely affected ASSMDA's outreach and community activities.
Most of ASSMDA's planned livelihood projects to help local communities from March to July in 2020 had to be suspended. ASSMDA made the decision to assist our seafarers' communities by distributing PPE and COVID-19 care packs in place of livelihood activities as its way of extending support during the pandemic. Areas of circulation were identified across the country upon consultation with seafarers and their dependents.
Our seafarers and their families acted as "local coordinators" to liaise with local officials to facilitate the distribution of the PPE. Boxes of PPE which comprised face shields, face masks and hand sanitising solution (where courier regulations allowed) were arranged to be sent to those in need using courier delivery.
The first batch of PPE to nine locations was approved for dispatch in August and the items were shipped to the beneficiaries in the first week of September. 89 sets of COVID-19 care packs, comprising one face shield and three face masks each, were also sent out. The second batch of 130 carepacks and PPE were sent out in October. The third batch, which consisted of 386 face masks and face shields, was sent out in November to 11 locations.
Below: PPE items received by the Barangay Captain of Brg 146 Caloocan, Manila and a Thank You note from them to ASSM.