Manning agencies back Magna Carta for Seafarers

Go reminded the public to keep their homes safe by following fire safety precautions recommended by the government. File photo

Employers of Filipino maritime professionals have expressed support for the Magna Carta for Seafarers bill filed by Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go and wished its alignment with existing laws.

Last week, Go filed Senate Bill 1191 which seeks to institute mechanisms for enforcing compulsory benefits and decent and humane employment for Filipino seafarers, as well as set guidelines for their training, overseas employment, and retirement.

The proposed Magna Carta codifies the rights of the seafarers into a single reference law, including their right to just terms and conditions of work, self-organization, educational advancement and training, information and consultation, fair treatment in the event of an accident, and against discrimination.

Currently, there are eight versions of the bill in the Senate for consolidation.

On Wednesday, members of the Association of Licensed Manning Agencies, Joint Manning Group and the Filipino Association for Mariners’ Employment, Inc. joined the Senate’s virtual consultation for the proposed measure.

ALMA Maritime Group manifested during the Senate hearing that they support passing the proposed measure into law and aired high hopes that their suggestions will be considered.

“We have yet to review all versions and we appealed that our group will be part of the discussions and deliberations. As of now, we have identified several sections for deletion and have suggested enhancements on certain provisions where it is not in accordance with the Maritime Labor Convention and the Department of Migrant Workers terms and conditions,” according to Tina Garcia, president of the ALMA Maritime Group.

Garcia said that although they fully understand the position of legislators to have the proposed measure passed to protect Filipino seafarers from unscrupulous employers and manning agents, she said they need to find the perfect poise as seafarers are also governed by international maritime laws.

“We need to find the right balance wherein employers who are complying with their contractual obligations will not be pushed to a position where they will prefer other nationalities to man their vessels because of risk exposures beyond the Maritime Labor Convention, Collective Bargaining Agreements, and the DMW Terms and Conditions,” Garcia explained.

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