Press Release
September 26, 2008

In celebration of the National Maritime Week

Senator Edgardo J. Angara today gives the maritime industry a boost by pushing for the amendment of the Maritime Code to adopt rules that would strengthen pre- and post-employment support for seafarers and their families.

"Human resource is an essential strength in an increasing global economy. The Philippines remains to be the biggest source of seafarers in the global market, both for officers and ratings. This phenomenon occurs in the context of continuing efforts by global shipping companies to cut costs, rationalize crewing, and comply with, among others, international conventions on maritime labor and protection of the environment," said Angara, who authored the Magna Carta for Seafarers.

Angara has also sought for the revision of the maritime educational curriculum to improve the national system of maritime education and training and to produce high quality seafarers. He noted the potential that the seafaring industry has, which is growing at 10 percent in the next five to 10 years.

He added, "A good start would be to come up with a definitive policy that will put together provisions on seafarers scattered in various laws."

Angara said the overall aim of the bill is to improve the economic and social status of Filipino seafarers. The said piece of legislation is considered a major breakthrough in Philippine maritime industry as the demand for RP seafarers increased in January this year.

"The challenge now lies for the Philippines to maintain its dominant presence vis--vis competition posed by emerging sources of labor such as China, Ukraine, India, Indonesia, Poland and Greece," he said. "We need to create a polished set of policies and rights."

Angara added that Filipino seafarers have been giving remittances contributing to US dollar earnings of the country. He estimated that as much as 300 million US dollars were sent back to Filipino seamen's families every year.

"The maritime-labor industry will be seriously undermined if the Philippine government does not take decisive steps to improve not only the national system of maritime education and training in the country, but also the development and implementation of a strong and consistent agenda for Filipino seafarers," he said.

Proclamation No. 1560 instituted the National Maritime Week which is celebrated every year for the purpose of focusing the public's attention on seafarer's welfare and other maritime concerns.

The maritime industry is currently celebrating the National Maritime Week with the theme, "Go Zero: Zero Marine Pollution, Zero Maritime Incidents!

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