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Int'l shipping groups seek resolution to ambulance chasing, education issues in PH maritime industry

Int'l shipping groups seek resolution to ambulance chasing, education issues in PH maritime industry
CNN Philippines Staff Apr 3, 2023

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 3) — International shipping organizations are urging the government to address concerns hounding the local maritime industry, particularly ambulance chasing and issues concerning the education of seafarers.

In a press conference on Monday, the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) along with officials from European shipping organizations tackled the issues, saying they must be resolved for employers to see Filipino seafarers as viable employees.

International Maritime Employers' Council Ltd. (IMEC) CEO Francesco Gargiulo said while they were happy about the European Commission's decision to continue to recognize the certificates of Filipino seafarers, it was not the time to be complacent.

"We need to make sure we continue to pursue the objectives that the advisory board has set itself," he said.

"There are concerns still out there when it comes to, certainly the education system in the Philippines, and we're keen to work with the government in trying to address these concerns. On top of those concerns, of course, the other big issue that's a big elephant in the room is, in the future employment of Filipinos is ambulance chasing," added Gargiulo.

Ambulance chasing refers to the practice of unscrupulous lawyers who take in seafarer-clients involved in accidents to gain a huge cut in the monetary settlement.

Gargiulo said they were "keen" to make sure there would be actions taken to address the issue.

Natalie Shaw, director of employment affairs of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) agreed that changes must be made to ensure Filipino seafarers "maintain their position as number one in the world."

"But that does need focus on education, training, mitigating ambulance chasing, and doing all the things the working group is now starting to look at," she said.

DMW Secretary Toots Ople, meanwhile, said the government was doing its part to address the concerns raised by the international shipping groups.

"The issue of ambulance chasing is a continuing concern...and this is being dealt with by the Executive branch in partnership with the Judicial branch," she explained.

Ople also said they were invited by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) along with other agencies to address the issue of education in the maritime industry along with other concerns.

"I have no doubt that the two issues regarding ambulance chasing and education will be, and shall be addressed," she said.

The European Commission for Transport said the country still had six deficiencies that should be addressed. These are monitoring, supervision, and evaluation of training; examination and assessment of competence, program and course design; availability and use of training facilities and simulators; on-board training; and issue, revalidation, and registration of certificates.