Legarda Bats for Greater Protection for Filipino Seafarers
In celebration of the Day of the Seafarer (June 25), Senator Loren Legarda renewed her call for the institution of mechanisms that would provide better protection of the rights and welfare of Filipino sea-based workers.
Legarda stressed the need to implement a strong, consistent legislative agenda for Filipino seafarers to address issues facing the maritime industry at present.
"Various policies to protect the welfare of our seafarers are scattered in numerous existing laws. This indicates a need for a more comprehensive legislation that will cover all these provisions, while at the same time complying with international maritime standards," she stressed.
With this, Legarda is set to re-file the proposed Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers and the bill to establish a National Seafarers Commission in the 17thCongress to address the specific concerns and needs of our maritime workers.
"We need to establish the Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers that would guarantee their right to humane working conditions and just compensation through ensuring that manning and crewing agencies provide adequate information about on-board conditions as well as local and international laws that apply to the Filipino seafarer," the Senator explained.
Legarda also underscored the need to create a National Seafarers Commission to serve as the centralized government agency that will provide the necessary services, supervision, regulation and guidance which the Filipino seafarer needs.
"Filipino seafarers have been given inadequate attention in our society. Despite incidents of abduction, unjust compensation and on-board accidents that have been reported, no legislation has been passed to protect and uphold their rights. Most of the policies and programs catering to the needs of migrant workers are designed for land-based workers," the Senator stressed.
"Filipino maritime workers are important human resources of our country. We have to understand that the seafaring profession has unique demands and conditions, thus, we must guarantee that they will be given equal attention and protection by our government. Furthermore, we must ensure that our seafarers comply with the international requirements and maintain their edge over their foreign counterparts," Legarda concluded.
Legarda is the co-author of Republic Act No. 10635 or "An Act Establishing the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) as the Single Maritime Administration and Enforcement of International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) for Seafarers".
She also sponsored Senate concurrence in the ratification of Maritime Labour Convention 2006, the seafarers' bill of rights. It covers such basic rights as freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining; elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labor; effective abolition of child labor; and elimination of discrimination with respect to employment and occupation.