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PH maritime employers meet Romualdez, pushes for end of ambulance-chasing practice

PH maritime employers meet Romualdez, pushes for end of ambulance-chasing practice
Aaron Recuenco Dec 6, 2023

Members of the AMOSUP, shipowners, and manning agents in a courtesy call to House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez on Nov. 28, pushing for the end of ambulance chasing through the passage of Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers. (Photo from AMOSUP.)
Local maritime employers met with House Speaker Martin Romualdez to share their inputs in the ongoing deliberation for the Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers bill in the bicameral conference committee, particularly on the issue of ambulance-chasing involving Filipino seafarers.

During the courtesy call, the maritime employers in the Philippines, represented by foreign shipowners and local manning agencies, and employees, who also belong to the Association of Marine Officers and Seamen’s Union of the Philippines (AMOSUP), have manifested their unity in pushing to end ambulance-chasing in the country.

In a statement, the groups said it is pushing for the eradication of ambulance-chasing in the Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers bill.

Ambulance-chasing is defined as an attempt by a lawyer to get work by persuading someone who has been injured to claim money from the person or company responsible.

“Ambulance chasing is an unethical practice that has detrimentally drained Filipino seafarers and Overseas Filipino Workers of their hard-earned resources,” they said in a statement.

Some labor groups, however, have been insisting on the retention of such provision.

However, the maritime employers in the country said that in recent policy discussions, claimant lawyers have become more prominent than seafarer unions and employers in vigorously challenging key provisions in the Magna Carta invariably favoring their practices and shaping public policy in the maritime sector.

“Addressing the menace of ambulance-chasing, which has occasionally strained relations within the local maritime sector, emphasizes the urgency of protective measures benefiting both Filipino seafarers and foreign workers,” the groups representing maritime employers said.

“This critical issue underscores the pressing need for a comprehensive legal framework that safeguards the interests of seafarers and employers, ensuring a fair and ethical maritime industry for all stakeholders,” they added.

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The seafarers union and employers have, however, noted that certain labor associations, such as the National Association of Trade Unions, Association of Marine Officers and Ratings, and Federation of Free Workers expressed their opposition to the escrow provision.