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DOLE: Bill Protecting Seafarers

Dec 04, 2013

On the Senate hearing on the proposed Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers, there is a need for the Philippines to pass a law that will “seal the standards and provisions” for Filipino seafarers and their families according to Labor Assistant Secretary Joji Aragon. 

"There is already a consensus among stakeholders that there is indeed a need for the promotion of the rights of seafarers. We support the Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers in full," Aragon said.

She also added that the Philippines, having the biggest number of seafarers in the world, should pass the bill protecting its maritime workers since it ratified the Maritime Labor Convention in 2006.

DOLE emphasized the need to lay down the law of standard hours of work and rest for Filipino seafarers.

A Filipino seafarer's normal hours of work “shall be eight hours but in no case exceed 14 hours in any 24-hour period and 72 hours in any seven-day period.” This is under the Senate Bill 21, sourced by Senate labor committee chairperson Jinggoy Estrada. 

The extent states that Filipino seafarers are also entitled to at least 10 hours of rest in a 24-hour period, and a minimum of 2.5 calendar days of paid leave per month. 

Meanwhile, Estrada guaranteed the DOLE that the Senate will enact the Magna Carta of Seafarers on the 16th Congress.

Estrada told the labor officials, “ We will make this a priority, because this bill is imperative. We are optimistic that this will pass, since stakeholders have already extended support for the Magna Carta of Seafarers.”

Be that as it may, Rodolfo Estampador of the Confederation of Maritime Manning Agencies said on the Senate proceedings that there's still a need to give limits on the numbers of government agencies who'll be part of the implementation of the measure.

He said that “ There are so many government agencies involved in the implementation of the bill. There are already overlapping functions.”

Under the bill passed by Estrada, there are nine agencies that shall implement the Magna Carta of Seafarers, which includes the DOLE, the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Health and the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency.

A technical group to introduce amendments which were suggested by stakeholders during the Senate hearing is called by Estrada on the following week.

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