Press Release
September 7, 2020

Hontiveros: Provide assistance and benefits to families of crew members of 'Gulf Livestock 1'

"While we earnestly pray that there are more survivors, I urge the government to continuously extend its assistance and support to the families of the Filipino crew members of Gulf Livestock 1."

This was the statement of Senator Risa Hontiveros as she urged government to better ensure that assistance is readily available to families of survivors and missing Filipino seafarers aboard the Gulf Livestock 1 that sank off the coast of Japan last Wednesday.

Hontiveros said that relevant agencies like Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) must work closely together and coordinate with the manning agency of the 39 Filipino seafarers and the ship owner of the ill-fated cargo vessel to make sure that contractual obligations are fulfilled.

"My heart goes out to the on board seafarers, especially their families who are anxiously waiting for the return of their loved ones. Sigurado akong mga breadwinner sila ng kanilang mga pamilya," she added. "Kailangang nakaantabay ang DOLE, OWWA at POEA mula sa day-to-day updates ng rescue operations, hanggang sa pagbibigay ng employer ng mga benepisyong dapat na matanggap ng pamilya."

The Senator also stated that a more comprehensive 'Magna Carta for Seafarers' must be passed into law to institutionalize reforms for the better protection of seafarers and their families especially during maritime accidents like this that either result to injury or loss of life of Filipino seafarers.

"While we welcome government's initiative to provide aid to the families of our seafarers, moving forward, wala na dapat kakaba-kabang seafarer o pamilya kada sasampa ng barko at maglalayag ang ating mga marino," she said. "Mas maganda kung ma-institutionalize ang agarang pagbibigay ng benepisyo at mas maayos na ugnayan ng mga marino at tripulante at ng kanilang ahensya o employer."

According to Hontiveros, who has been pushing for the passage of Senate Bill No. 357 or 'Marino Bill', health insurance systems should be strengthened as well as the capacity to negotiate with insurance companies and ship owners to ensure seafarers get the best in terms of disability or death compensation claims.

"Sa ilalim ng employment contract na aprubado ng POEA, nakakatanggap ng $50,000 and an additional amount of $7,000 to each child under 21 years old. Kaya inilagay natin ang probisyon sa karapatang mag-organisa dahil mas mataas ang coverage if the death is covered by a Collective Bargaining Agreement," she said.

"Hindi man mapapalitan ng kahit anong halaga ang buhay ng ating kababayan, pero sa napakalaking panganib na laging kinakaharap ng ating mga marino, mabuti na ang protektado at may sandalan kapag nangyari ang hindi inaasahan," she concluded.

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