Press Release
November 5, 2010


As recent reports show the huge increase in the overseas remittance by Filipino maritime workers, Senator Edgardo J. Angara renews his call for better protection for their welfare.

The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) reported an 11.31 percent increase of foreign exchange from sea-based overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in January to August of 2010 over the same period last year. According to the TUCP, the remittances from Filipino seafarers are growing twice as fast as those from the land-based workers.

"These figures prove that the Philippine maritime industry is a viable option for our country's economic growth. To maximize the potential of this industry, we must prioritize the development and training of our seafarers," said Angara.

According to Angara, various provisions to protect the welfare of our seafarers are scattered in several existing laws. This indicates a need for a more comprehensive, definitive policy legislation to cover all these bases, while at the same time ensuring the Philippines' compliance with the treaty standards under the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW-95).

"We must push for the development and implementation of a strong, consistent legislative agenda for Filipino seafarers. We need to create a new system to recognize and advance their issues and concerns, through reforms in our maritime industry," he explained.

Angara authored the Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarer's bill, which seeks to progressively develop a pool of world class domestic and international seafarers through continuous education, accreditation and licensing. The bill also establishes added services for the families of these maritime workers.

Senate Bill No. 2062, "An act instituting the Magna Carta for Filipino Seafarers", was filed by Angara earlier this year in the First Regular Session of the 15th Congress. It is now pending in the Committee of Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development.

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