Dear PNBC-members,

These are trying times for all of us, but you don’t need PNBC to tell you that.

The Tagalog word for this day and age is “ugnayan”, the lesser-known cousin of “bayanihan”. Read our thoughts on this further down.

We write to you today to give a brief update on what we are working on in the Board of Trustees, to invite comments from you and to hear from you how you are all doing.

The Board continues to meet regularly via video-conferencing facilities.
Our focus has been on completing the 2nd edition of the CSR Handbook, and this is now close to completion thanks to the efforts of Ozone and his loyal team of supporters.

We have also signed an agreement with Nordstar, an entity established by the former head of the Nordic Chamber, Mr. Joona Selin. PNBC will tap Nordstar for support as and when Norway-affiliated companies look to explore the opportunities in the Philippines. Nordstar has experience in market-entry studies, partner-review, etc. It is part of the agreement that Nordstar will join PNBC as soon as the first project materializes.

We have also completed the review of our membership-status, and it is heart-warming to see that virtually all of our members have renewed their membership. To all those of you who renewed, the Board expresses its heartfelt gratitude. If you know of a company or person who would be a natural fit for membership in PNBC, please do let Vanessa know!

While PNBC may not be hosting many events in-person right now, our work to support our members continues. Not too long ago, a member-company approached us and asked for help. They were having problems with Schengen-visas, and asked if we could help them look for options. We contacted the Royal Norwegian Embassy, who were extremely supportive. A deep-dive into Schengen-visas followed, and direct communications were soon established between our member and the relevant people at the Embassy. While PNBC can’t issue visas, we can certainly assist in raising issues and we do what we can to smoothen the work of both our members and the Embassy.

One note to all of us who work with the Filipino seafarer: It is PNBC’s sincere hope that none of our members will experience false Covid-19 certificates for any of their crew. It is part of PNBC’s backbone to do the right thing, even when it may be painful. We all need to pull together to retain and increase global trust in the Filipino seafarer – and that includes supporting the authorities in clamping down on misbehavior. We must retain, and even increase, trust in the maritime industry in the Philippines.

Above all of this hangs the cloud of Covid-19. Much has been said about this, and there is not much we can add from our side. We can only encourage all of us to remain data-driven, and to protect ourselves and our loved ones to the best of our abilities. This is not the time for speculation, conspiracies and hearsay – it is the time for mettle, grit and resilience. Fortunately, the Filipino culture runs deep on all three. We are no strangers to calamity here, and Covid will be overcome.

One of my favorite Tagalog words is ugnayan (connection/joint effort), and this is much needed now. Any society is only as strong as its weakest link, and we encourage all our members to keep ugnayan in mind.
Small acts of help and support have large impacts. Support a local charity, a local store, your barangay, the government, the medical professionals, the truck-drivers who keep our supplies going – it’s a joint effort and we are all connected. We can remain connected and work together behind masks, MECQ and social distancing. The virus cannot.

Safe wishes,
Carl M. Faannessen