Press Release
July 9, 2013


Acting Senate President Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada is pushing for the passage of the Magna Carta for Filipino Seafarers which will give flesh to the minimum standards and welfare mechanisms set forth by the Maritime Labor Convention, 2006.

Sen. Estrada served as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development and co-sponsored the concurrence of the Senate on the ratification of the Maritime Labor Convention of the International Labor Organization (ILO).

Senate Resolution 118 (Resolution Concurring in the Ratification of MLC, 2006) was adopted last August 13, 2012.

The Philippines was the 30th country to ratify the convention, which enables the same to come into force a year thereafter.

In filing Senate Bill 21 as one of his priority measures, Sen. Estrada says in its explanatory note, "The draft Magna Carta for Seafarers seeks to ensure protection of the rights and welfare of overseas Filipino seafarers and their families. Specifically, it seeks to recognize the rights of Filipino seafarers, institute mechanisms for the enforcement and protection thereof, provide compulsory benefits and implement standards set by the MLC, 2006."

The proposed measure defines the fundamental rights to safe and secure workplace and fair terms of employment as prescribed by the MLC. To wit, Senate Bill 21 provides the following:

  • Right to self-organization and to engage in collective bargaining and to participate in democratic exercises

  • Right to educational advancement and training at reasonable and affordable costs

  • Right to adequate and relevant information regarding their rights and benefits, conditions and realities attendant to their profession

  • Right to be consulted before adopting any policy or regulation that may affect them

  • Right against discrimination by reason of race, sex, religion and political opinion;

  • Right to access to communication

  • Right to decent wage rates (as set by the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards)

  • Eight-hour work period (in no case to exceed 14 hours in any 24-hour work period, and 72 hours in any 7-day period)

  • Payment of annual leave (minimum of 2.5 calendar days per month of employment)

  • Right to health and medical care

  • Right to social welfare benefits

  • Right to expeditious dispute settlement and complaint procedures

  • Access to reintegration programs (livelihood development, training and placement services) offered by concerned government agencies

According to ILO, there are more than 1.2 million seafarers worldwide and Filipino seafarers make up 30% of the global shipping fleet. Philippines, on the other hand, has 40,000 local seafarers manning domestic ships navigating the Philippine waters for purposes of commerce, transportation and trade.

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