Press Release
September 7, 2022

Opening statement of Senator Raffy Tulfo on Magna Carta of Seafarers

Good morning again everyone. Before we proceed to the discussion and hearing proper, allow me to say a few words.

More than a quarter of the world's seafarers come from the Philippines. Translated into more specific figures, 25% of the 1.5 million seafarers in the world are Filipinos.

Like other OFW's, our Filipino seafarers are looked up to as modern-day heroes. We take great pride in them because they are in fact preferred in the global fleet. Engineer Nelson Ramirez, the President of the United Filipino Seafarers attests to this preference and aptly describes that - "They speak English. They are hardworking. They are well-trained, they are adaptable, are able to turn to any job and "pliant like a bamboo."

While we are grateful for their contributions to our economy and we take pride in their admirable qualities, the question remains - are we giving enough protection to our Filipino seafarers? This is the reason why we are gathered here today.

Our seafarers have essentially similar employment issues and concerns as other OFW's but the nature of their work bear certain peculiarities that calls for separate legislation. Their Contracts are usually contracts of adhesion where terms and conditions are often times ambiguous to them. They are not only physically away from their families but they are at sea, sailing non-stop, where communication lines can be extremely difficult, and they are exposed to harsh weather conditions with the risk of injury or even death.

The Magna Carta for Filipino Seafarers codifies the rights of our seafarers into a single reference law. It seeks to secure their rights to decent, just and humane conditions of employment aboard sea-going vessels and set a guide for their training and education, overseas employment and ultimately retirement.

Most importantly, the Magna Carta for Seafarers is an affirmation of our commitment to the international community and adherence to the Maritime Labour Convention of 2006, where the Philippines stands as the 30th ILO Member state to ratify the same.

It is our earnest hope that after years of deliberation and discussion, this Committee, with your guidance and assistance, will finally pass this important piece of legislation that will benefit and protect our heroes at sea.

News Latest News Feed