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House panel tackles bills on Magna Carta for seafarers

House panel tackles bills on Magna Carta for seafarers
Raymund Antonio September 11, 2022

Nine proposed measures that seek to protect the rights and welfare of Filipino seafarers are up for deliberations in Congress, Kabayan Party-list Rep. Ron Salo said.

In a statemenr on Sunday, Sept. 11, the lawmaker said that nine bills on the proposed Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers are being discussed.

“I pray that under my watch, we shall finally see the enactment of these proposed measures into law for the benefit of the hundreds of thousands of Filipino seafarers,” Salo, chairperson of the House Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs, said.

He shared that similar bills were passed on third reading in the House of Representatives in the 16th, 17 and 18th Congresses, but the proposed measure was not approved in the Senate.

“Filipino seafarers are behind most, if not all, of the successful major shipping conglomerates in the world,” Salo said.

The Magna Carta shall protect and promote the welfare of Filipino seafarers by providing for their rights and privileges, as well as the duties and responsibilities of ship owners and manning agencies.

“We are determined to balance the interests and ensure the socio-economic well-being of seafarers and all stakeholders anchored on improved employment terms and working conditions,” Salo said.

In the version approved during the 18th Congress, the measure “provided a clear framework that needs to be steered through in the current Congress.”

The measure provided coverage for crucial seafarers’ rights, such as the right to just terms of conditions of work; to self-organization, collective bargaining, and participation in democratic processes; and to professional advancement and training, among others.

This time around, Salo is optimistic that support from key stakeholders will further push the proposed enactment of the Magna Carta.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC), Filipino Association for Mariner’s Employment, Philippine Association of Service Exporters, Inc., Associated Marine Officers’ and Seamen’s Union of the Philippines (AMOSUP), and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) already expressed support for the bill.

They are expected to provide the House panel with their respective position papers.

Salo is also confident that the newly-created Department of Migrant Workers (DMW), under the leadership of Secretary Susan Ople, will push the measure to finally become law.