Senate approves Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers

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Senate approves Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers
Photo from the Maritime Industry Authority.
  • The Senate has ratified the bicameral conference committee version of the Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers
  • The proposed measure institutionalizes the protection of Filipino seafarers’ rights
  • It entitles seafarers onboard with paid annual leave of 3.5 calendar days per month of employment
  • Shipboard training, which will be monitored and regulated by the Maritime Industry Authority, is also part of the proposed legislation

The Senate has ratified the bicameral conference committee version of the Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers that aims to safeguard the rights of Filipino seafarers.

The proposed bill will now be transmitted to President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. for his approval and signature.

Under the House and Senate reconciled version, Filipino seafarers onboard are entitled to 3.5 calendar days of paid annual leave per month of employment, according to Senator Raffy Tulfo, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Migrant Workers.

The proposed legislation also establishes shipboard training, which will be monitored and regulated by the Maritime Industry Authority.

“This ultimately addresses the repeated concern on the credentials of our seafarers and their compliance with the STCW [Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers],” said Tulfo, adding it will fulfill the country’s commitment to the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA).

The European Union (EU) had in the past issued warnings of a potential ban on Filipino maritime workers due to the Philippines’ repeated failures to pass the EMSA’s evaluation for the past 16 years.

However, in March 2022, the EU acknowledged the country’s efforts and continued recognizing Philippine-issued certificates for seafarers.

READ: EC extends recognition of PH seafarers’ certificate

Tulfo also highlighted a “win-win” solution in the bill for shipping companies and seafarers seeking disability claims through a bond execution.

“In the bicam version, the said bond would be posted only for the disputed portion of the award. And if the seafarer ultimately prevails in the case, he will be reimbursed with the cost of putting up the bond,” said Tulfo.

The provision is supported by Associated Marine Officers’ and Seamen’s Union of the Philippines, the largest union of seafarers in the country, the legislator added.