By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Senator Cynthia A. Villar expressed her full support to
Senate Bill No. 2369 under Committee Report No. 289–the “Magna Carta
of Filipino Seafarers,” while acknowledging their significant
contributions to the world amid the corona virus pandemic.
“The trade of food, necessary medicines, medical supplies and
equipment and other essentials are facilitated with the continuous
toil and sacrifice of our seafarers on board various cargo vessels,”
“And their contributions and work as seafarers are highlighted,
especially now while we are at a pandemic,” she added.
In fact, she related the seafarers aboard cruise ships were among the
first to be affected by the COVID virus, and yet they continue to
venture with their work hazards.
Because of this, Villar underscored the need
to give our seafarers all the protection they need.
The Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers, Villar said, will guarantee the
protection of their rights, and the standards to be followed on their
employment terms and conditions.
It will also afford a system to provide for their financial security
and a mechanism to protect their health and welfare in case of
pandemic and monitor the crucial role of certain government agencies
like MARINA, DOLE, CHED, PCG tasked to protect them and improve the
She likewise said the legislative measure will also guarantee the
much-needed mechanism ensuring women protection and empowerment in the
maritime industry. She stressed that women, in a male-dominated
maritime industry, are exposed or vulnerable to sexual harassment and
“It is no secret that Filipinos are the preferred seafarers in the
world. This is due to the innate ability of Filipinos to cope up with
marine life, being hardworking, dedicated to working, flexible, cheerful,
being highly trainable and fluent in English,” said Villar, adding
that 25% of all seafarers in the world are Filipinos.
According to Villar, the Filipino seafarers, comprising a chunk of our
beloved OFWs, have always been close to her family. She said it has
always been the advocacy of her family to serve them.
“That is why, may I share with you here, that we have devoted a
family-owned facility, The Villar Tent in C5 Las Piñas, as well as
medical personnel for the vaccination of our seafarers against COVID,”
With the coordination of MARINA and the Las Piñas General Hospital, Villar
said they have so far vaccinated 10,000 seafarers and “we are ready to
vaccinate more as long as there will be more vaccine supplies to be
provided by the IATF, given that our seafarers are among the priority
groups to be vaccinated.