By Liza Soriano
LICAS News Philippines photo courtesy
MANILA — Through Senate Bill No. 822 that he filed on Wednesday, Senator Win Gatchalian is pushing for the passage of a Magna Carta for Filipino seafarers in order to better protect them, increase their capabilities through education and skill development, and boost their overall competitiveness and competitive edge.
Gatchalian’s call came after the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) gave several maritime schools in the country until this month to comply with international requirements on training and certification for seafarers.
Noncompliance of which may result in losses of up to 50,000 in job opportunities according to reports.
The “Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers” seeks to ensure that Filipino seafarers are continuously nurtured, protected, and guided by the government in terms of setting up mechanisms that can protect them even beyond the country’s borders, recognize their rights, contributions, and unique role as essential maritime professionals.
Gatchalian said the proposed measure also seeks to ensure that Filipino seafarers are afforded the right to just terms and conditions of work, the right to educational advancement and training at reasonable and affordable costs, and the right to fair treatment in the event of a maritime accident, among others.
In addition, the bill ensures that seafarers’ employment shall cease when they complete their period of contractual service.
Gatchalian said that the urgent problem needs to be addressed immediately.
He noted that the Philippines continues to be one of the major suppliers of maritime labor globally. It is estimated that there is one Filipino seafarer for every 4 to 5 crew members on board a vessel at any time. (ai/mtvn)