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Senate Bill Proposed to Prevent Blacklisting of Filipino Seafarers on EU Vessels

In order to counter the plans of the European Union (EU) to blacklist Filipino seafarers onboard any EU-flagged vessel, a bill that seeks to assign all training and certification of almost 400,000 Filipino seafarers to a sole agency has been proposed.

Senator Franklin Drilon said that Senate Bill No. 2043 should be filed and ratified to protect Filipino seafarers against the employment ban in EU-vessels. A sole agency, Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) should be tasked to perform all training and certification of Filipino maritime workers.

"By designating the MARINA as the sole maritime administrative agency empowered to enact uniform rules and regulations governing global maritime professionals and to regularly monitor our conformity with the STCW Convention, we can now meet standards and avert employment bans," Drilon said.

The European Union (EU) expresses their intention to ban deployment of Filipino seafarers in EU-vessels due to the Philippines' failure to comply with and observe the 2010 Manila Amendments to the "1978 International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW Convention)" that discusses regulations and improvements in standard of onboard operation and seafarer's qualifications and welfare. 

At present various agencies perform the functions of the STCW, such as the Philippine Regulatory Commission (PRC), Commission of Higher Education (CHED), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and National Telecommunication Commission (NTC). Drilon says that this practice, if not revised and improved, may cause a threat to capsize the Philippines' maritime industry.

Drilon also explains that the urgent implementation of the bill will positively influence the ongoing audit report of the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), which will determine if the country is indeed in conformity to the STCW Convention. 
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