Sen. Angara renews his call for better protection of Filipino seafarers

By Jason de Asis


SENATE OFFICE, Manila, November 6, 2010-Senator Edgardo J. Angara renews his call for better protection and welfare of Filipino seafarers as recent reports show the huge increase in the overseas remittance of Filipino maritime workers.


It was reported by the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) that 11.31 percent increase of foreign exchange from sea-based overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in January to August of 2010 over the same period last year where the remittances from Filipino seafarers are growing twice as fast as those from the land-based workers.


The Philippine maritime industry proves these figures for the country’s economic growth and we must prioritize the development and training of Filipino seafarers in order to maximize the potential of the said industry.


Several existing laws are implemented to protect the welfare of the seafarer according to Angara which indicates the need for a more comprehensive, definitive policy legislation to cover all these bases, while at the same time ensuring the Philippines’ compliance with the treaty standards under the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watch keeping for Seafarers (STCW-95).


The Senator explained that consistent legislative agenda for Filipino seafarers must be pushed for a strong development and implementation to create new system to recognize and advance their issues and concerns through reforms in the country’s maritime industry.


Senate Bill No. 2062 is an act instituting the Magna Carta for Filipino Seafarers was filed by Angara earlier this year in the First Regular Session of the 15th Congress and is pending now in the Committee of Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development, adding that it also establishes additional services for the families of these maritime workers.


The said bill seeks to progressively develop a pool of world class domestic and international seafarers through continuous education, accreditation and licensing. (Jason de Asis)