Fair treatment for seafarers urged

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Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III yesterday appealed to maritime industry stakeholders for fair treatment of Filipino seafarers as prescribed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and International Labor Organization (ILO).

Bello made the appeal at a regional meeting in Manila with maritime industry stakeholders, an event organized by Department of Labor and Employment and the Seafarer’s Rights International (SRI), as he noted Filipino seafarers comprise nearly 30 percent of some 1.5 million sailors in the world.

The meeting was attended by delegates from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, India, Brunei and Indonesia. Other participants to the meeting were tripartite partners, shipping industry representatives, academe, international organizations, resident ambassadors and Philippine government officials.

The SRI — an international pan-industry body researching maritime and seafarers’ law — revealed that “risks are inherent in the working lives of seafarers, who can be subjected to criminal charges either of a professional or a non-professional nature, simply from carrying out their duties.”

In recognition of these “inherent risks,” the participants are expected to release a declaration that aims to raise awareness, develop further education, training and human capacity building.

Likewise, the declaration is expected to include measures to extend and develop cooperation among stakeholders on the proper and effective implementation of the IMO and ILO guidelines.

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