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House to prioritize bills for seafarers’ welfare

House to prioritize bills for seafarers’ welfare
Sheila Crisostomo - December 4, 2022

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives will prioritize the approval of legislative measures benefitting Filipino seafarers around the globe, Speaker Martin Romualdez assured last Friday.

In his speech at the 20th commencement exercises of the Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific (MAAP) in Mariveles, Bataan, Romualdez said that lawmakers are giving “top priority” to the passage of the proposed Magna Carta for Seafarers.

“In fact, it was among the 32 legislative measures specified as priority under the common legislative agenda of the Senate and the House of Representatives,” the Speaker said.

Foremost among the three-fold purpose of the magna carta is to protect the rights and promote the welfare of Filipino seafarers by providing one code of laws.

It also aims to improve the working conditions and terms and conditions of employment and ensure the socio-economic well-being of Filipino seafarers.
If passed into law, it would also serve as the implementing legislation of the Maritime Labor Convention of 2006, which was ratified by the Philippines on Aug. 13, 2012.

Romualdez said the list of priority measures was agreed upon in the first meeting of the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) presided over by President Marcos last Oct. 10.

He underscored that other proposed measures concerning the maritime industry are pending in the House, such as the proposed Maritime Education and Training Act, which seeks to adopt a modern maritime education and training regime and support the needs of maritime students and professionals.

Another one is the International Maritime Instrument Domestication Act, which calls for the full and effective implementation and enforcement of international maritime instruments and other international conventions, to which the Philippines is a state party.

He stressed how he and other lawmakers are aware of the importance of the sector to the economy, since the Philippines is one of the largest suppliers of manpower to the global maritime industry.

The Speaker lauded MAAP and other maritime schools because they “help our economy (stay) afloat in trying times by producing world-class seafarers, who continue to make us proud in the global arena.”