Bu-lat-lat (boo-lat-lat) verb: to search, probe, investigate, inquire; to unearth facts

Volume IV,  Number 12              April 25 - May 1, 2004            Quezon City, Philippines


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Migrant Watch  

Possible Cover-up in Missing Seamanís Case Exposed

Casimiro, father of missing seafarer Allan Macavinta, saw bloodstains and what appeared to be ďbullet-holesĒ on one of Allanís clothes that was returned to the family by a fellow seaman. 


In late December, Allan Macavintaís family became worried because they have not heard from him for about a month.  But when they went to Seawork Force Manila, Allanís manning agency, they were given the incredible story that Allan jumped ship in Brazil.   

Allanís father, Casimiro, was puzzled with the agencyís story. He saw bloodstains and what appeared to be ďbullet holesĒ on clothes that were among his sonís belongings. Allanís belongings were brought to the Macavinta family in Cebu by a fellow seaman. He also maintained that Allan did not jump ship. 

It was only after being pressed for proof to back their claims that Allan jumped ship did the agency show a copy of a report issued by the Brazilian police.  After translating the police report, the family discovered that Allan was reported missing on Nov. 27, 2003 from the M/V Athens while it was docked in Brazil. Further, the report stated that on Dec. 11, a cadaver matching Allanís physical description was found by Brazilian authorities.

But Seawork Force Manila stood pat on its claim that Allan jumped ship.  It even argued that the two crewmembers it sent to identify the body found by Brazilian police maintained that it was not Allan.

"Until now, Allan's manning agency tells us that Allan is still alive and that he simply jumped ship.  But if he's alive, why hasn't he called?  He hasn't even contacted his wife and two children.  Also, if he jumped ship, why would he leave his belongings on board?" Casimiro Macavinta, Allanís father, asserts. 

"The Seawork Force is notorious for violating the rights and welfare of seafarers.  Perhaps the agency is covering up to escape liabilities resulting from Allan's death," according to Maita Santiago, secretary-general of Migrante International, a group of overseas Filipino workers.

Foreign affairs

The family also approached the Department of Foreign Affairs for assistance but its own verification is proceeding at a snailís pace.  The Philippine post in Brazil promised to send the cadaverís dental impressions so that the family can compare it with Allanís dental records.  But until now nothing has happened.

ďWe also bewail the snail's pace and inutility of the DFA regarding cases like this,Ē Santiago said. ďAll the family seeks now is that Allan's body be repatriated soonest so that he may be given a proper burial. By delaying the identification of the corpse, the DFA is prolonging the misery being suffered by he Macavinta family."

Migrante International compares the anguish experienced by the Macavinta family because of the Philippine governmentís seeming indifference and ineptitude to the plight suffered by the family of domestic worker Grace Aguilar. 

Grace Aguilar was a domestic in Taiwan who reportedly committed suicide last August 3 by jumping from her employerís 8th floor apartment.  Like in Allanís case, the official report on the incident was full of loopholes. 

The Philippine government promised to provide the Aguilar family with the autopsy report from Taiwan. As in Allanís case, the governmentís promise remains unfulfilled. Bulatlat.com

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