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Pro-seafarers’ solon stands pat on what industry magna carta should be

Pro-seafarers’ solon stands pat on what industry magna carta should be
Ellson Quismorio November 21, 2022

The proposed Magna Carta of Seafarers should cover all types of seamen, Marino Party-list Rep. Sandro Gonzalez insisted on Monday, Nov. 21.

This, after the Philippine Coastwise Shipping Association, Inc. (PCSA) members appealed to exclude domestic seafarers from the magna carta measure during their general meeting on Nov. 18, Thursday.

The strong opposition of the Cebu-based shipping association stems from the additional expenses that they will incur to accommodate the specific mandates of the Maritime Labor Convention once it is ratified.

“MARINO is for the general welfare of our Pinoy seafarers. While we understand the plight of our shipowners, the protection given by the Magna Carta should not be limited to international seafarers only,” Gonzalez said in a statement.

“We adhere to the equal protection of our laws, and our domestic seafarers have rights, too, that we must not take a blind eye,” he noted.

MARINO’s version of Magna Carta of Seafarers or House Bill (HB) No.0736 puts emphasis on the rights of seafarers for just terms and humane conditions in their workplace, right against discrimination on age, gender, and religion, right to be repatriated on emergency situations, and right to return to their point of destination instead of point of hire.

Further, it advocates for the establishment of credit facilities that will financially support the seafarers in their education-to-employment journey, as well as the livelihood opportunities for their families.

“Our intention is to strengthen the government’s protection extended to Filipino seafarers while on-board and off-board,” Rep. Gonzalez said.

“If we remove the domestic seamen from its benefits, thousands of seafarers will be left behind, least protected from the perils of abusive agencies and companies.” He added.

PCSA in 2021 warned Senate authors of the Magna Carta that once it gets enacted, many local shipping companies will limit their admission of cadets taking on-the-job training since they are considered liabilities. MLC treats them as equal to a ship’s regular employees.

The Magna Carta of Seafarers remains a pending legislative measure in the Congress despite the great contributions of Filipino seafarers to the Philippine economy, especially during the height of Covid-19 pandemic.