Bicam panel approves Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers

Bicam panel approves Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers

ON December 6, 2023 the Senate and House of Representatives Bicameral Conference Committee approved the reconciled version of the Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers.

“After years of hard work in Congress, our efforts have finally culminated in the approval of the Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers,” Rep. Ron P. Salo remarked.

“Finally, we have this groundbreaking legislation, which aims to further advance and safeguard the rights and well-being of our Filipino seafarers,” Salo added.

Consistent with the instruction of Speaker Martin Romualdez, the House contingent has remained resolute in pushing for the adoption of vital provisions that will ensure greater employability of Filipino seafarers in the global scale, which will redound to more opportunities for our seafarers.

The reconciled version has several measures addressing the nefarious practice of ambulance-chasing that has earned a deplorable reputation among Filipino seafarers.

These include: Institutionalization of a Department of Health (DOH)– accredited physician in determining appropriate disability grading; Inclusion of specific short period of validation and payment of seafarer’s claim; Establishment of seafarer’s “Tambayan” with full range of services to seafarers, including legal; Provision of free legal assistance by the Public Attorney’s Office to seafarers having legal concerns; and Clarifying the manner of execution which ensures full restitution of improper awards in cases of reversal or modification, without the need for the seafarer to fork-out from his own pockets.

The reconciled bill also addressed the issue on our maritime graduates’ lack of shipboard training, as well as our country’s compliance to the standards of the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA).

“The bill Mandates Maritime Higher Educational Institutions (MHEIS) to accommodate up to 150% of their carrying capacity for shipboard training, and require them to employ their own training ship, simulators or similar technologies, or in the absence of a training ship, to enter into agreements with domestic or international shipping companies to accept their graduates for shipboard training. This will address the issue on the lack of opportunity for shipboard training for our maritime graduates,” Salo said.

“We also thank our domestic shipping companies which have committed to accept our maritime graduates for shipboard training. This shows that addressing this issue requires the participation of both the government and private sectors,” Salo continued.

The Bicameral Conference Committee was composed of House of Representatives Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs Chairman Ron P. Salo, Reps. Sandro Gonzalez, Marissa Magsino, Khymer Olaso, and Marlyn Primicias-Aggabas for the House of Representatives, and Senators Raffy Tulfo, Francis Escudero, Imee Marcos, Joel Villanueva, and Risa Hontiveros.

“I greatly thank our Senate counterparts, led by Sen. Raffy Tulfo, whose support for promotion of the protection of the rights and promotion of the welfare of our seafarers, is undeniable,” Salo stated.

The reconciled version is expected to be ratified by both Houses next week, and will subsequently submitted for the President’s approval.

“The passage of this law is not only beneficial to our seafarers, but will revitalize our entire seafaring industry, and will ultimately redound to the benefit of our entire country,” Salo concluded.


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