Press Release
May 22, 2023

Co-Sponsorship Speech of Senator Risa Hontiveros on the Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers

Magandang hapon, Mr. Chair!

I would like to sponsor the bill on Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers SB No. 357. This bill is very close to my heart, because every Filipino seafarer deserves greater protection from abuses and violations of his or her rights and welfare. This bill is for all Overseas Filipino Workers/Seafarers who have been called modern day heroes because of their economic contributions through remittances and most importantly because of their sacrifices in being homesick to give a comfortable life to their loved ones, naririnig namin kayo mga kababayan.

Hindi sapat na manatiling lamang silang mga buhay na bayani habang sila ay nakiki pagsapalaran at nagbabanat ng buto sa karagatan na walang sapat na batas na magtataguyod ng kanilang mga karapatan at proteksyon. Panahon na para ito ay madinig at maisabatas ang Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers.

Noong nakaraang taon lamang ay muntik nang mawalan ng trabaho ang libo-libong mga Marino nating mga kababayan dahil sa hindi pag comply sa itinakda ng International Convention on Standards on Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW Convention). I immediately filed a resolution to investigate and am glad and grateful that my colleague Senator Tulfo also filed and conducted a hearing on this issue.

Napakaraming problema ang kinaharap ng ating mga Filipino Seafarers habang walang batas na magtataguyod sa kanila--ang restrictive provisions of the seafarers employment contract, claims for disability and death compensation, are becoming a legal battle ground at lalo na kung ito ay hahantong na sila ay tuluyang mawalan ng pag-asa para makapag trabaho pang muli. Kaugnay nito ang paglagay ng "escrow account" na posibleng maging hadlang para sa interest ng mga Filipino Seafarer, ang batas na ito ay dapat na maging daan para sa mas madaling paraan ng mga proseso sa kanilang mga claims at para hindi pahirapan pa, lalo ng mga ilang manning agencies na inaabuso sila. Nandyan din ang korapsyon sa Maritime Industry, excessive fees for the trainings and development of Seafarers at marami pang mga isyu.

The Magna Carta should be the anchor of every Filipino, no one should be left behind, including cadets and fisherfolk. Every Filipino seafarer's right should be protected in accordance with the International Labor Organization's Maritime Labor Convention of 2006 and most especially the Philippine Constitution.

Mabuhay ang bawat Overseas Filipino Worker, Mabuhay ang bawat Marinong Pilipino, saludo ako sa inyong pagsisikap, patuloy kaming lahat sumusuporta para sa inyong kapakanan at seguridad!

Maraming salamat po, Mr. Chair!

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