I mentioned the Duffel Blog a few weeks back, and have stumbled across another article I thought worthy of mention due to its ability to shed some light on some of the more interesting facets of Navy life. The article is a discussion of the first non-Filipino cook aboard a warship, which is big news, considering the stranglehold that the Manila Mafia has on certain rates like Culinary Specialist.
Back in the day, when we still had a base in the Philippines, the Status of Forces Agreement we held allowed for 2000 Filipinos to enlist in the Navy in any rate not requiring a security clearance. Naturally, that meant that a large portion of them went into the supply rates. Sadly, the practice stopped when we left the Philippines in the 1990s.
Is the Filipino Mafia an actual criminal organization within an organization that is the bedrock of national defense? No, not even close; but the Filipinos are a tight-knit bunch. Their culture places a lot of emphasis on family values and community which means that they tend to seek each other out on board the ship. Usually the most nefarious thing they have planned is a cook out.
Now, I like the Manila Mafia. The Filipino Sailors I’ve had the privilege to work were some of the most efficient and hardest workers I’ve had the pleasure to work with. And one of the benefits of their tight community is the advantage of being able to tap into the network and using it to work out solutions to problems through back channels. For instance, say you happen to need a solenoid valve that no one seems to be able to locate within the
confusing vast Navy Supply system, just reach out to the Filipino Mafia and that valve will be in your hands within a few days. Just remember: When that valve arrives, don’t ask questions of how it got there.