Legarda Bats for Greater Protection for Filipino Seafarers

June 28, 2021

In line with the recent celebration of the Day of the Seafarer, three-term Senator, now Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda renewed her call for the institution of mechanisms that will provide better protection of the rights and welfare of Filipino sea-based workers.

Legarda stressed the need to push for a strong and consistent legislative agenda for Filipino seafarers to help address issues they currently face.

“Various policies to protect the welfare of our seafarers are scattered in numerous existing laws. This indicates a need for a more comprehensive legislation that will harmonize all these provisions, while at the same time complying with international maritime standards,” she stressed.

With this, Legarda lauded the approval of the proposed Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers by the House of Representatives early this year to address the specific concerns and needs of our maritime workers.

“We need to establish the Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers that would guarantee their fundamental right to humane working conditions and right to just compensation by ensuring that manning and crewing agencies provide adequate information about on-board conditions as well as applicable local and international laws that will benefit or in any way affect the welfare of Filipino seafarers,” Legarda said.

The three-term Senator lamented about incidents of missing, abducted, and abused seafarers while on duty at sea. Legarda said that Filipino seafarers should be given adequate attention by our society, that the rights of all seafarers are upheld, and that they are respected and recognized as vital pillars of the economy, both domestic and international.

“The unfair conditions of seafarers including exploitation, excessive working hours, ill treatment, contract substitution and underpayment of wages and other benefits should be addressed. We must give them the just treatment that they deserve, underscoring their sacrifices and contributions to the global economy,” Legarda concluded.

Legarda is a co-author of Republic Act No. 10635 or “An Act Establishing the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) as the Single Maritime Administration and Enforcement of International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) for Seafarers”.

As then Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, she also sponsored the Senate concurrence in the ratification of Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, or the Seafarers’ Bill of Rights, in 2012. It covers such basic rights as freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining; elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labor; effective abolition of child labor; and elimination of discrimination with respect to employment and occupation.***