Legarda: PHL Making Significant Strides in Protecting Seafarers

June 19, 2013

Senator Loren Legarda today said that the country is making significant strides in protecting the rights and welfare of Filipino seafarers both here and abroad through relevant programs and policies.

“Our seafarers will be provided with fair working conditions and the benefits due to them and as their employers will be demanded to provide them with salaries not lower than the minimum wage rate, holiday pay and other special day benefits, weekly rest day, overtime pay, incentive leaves, among other benefits,” said Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

The Senator made the statement in reaction to a directive released by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in compliance with the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC), which will enter into force in August following the Philippine Senate’s concurrence in the ratification of the treaty last year.

“The Philippines’ ratification of the Maritime Labour Convention is a global milestone, because as the 30th ILO member state to ratify the treaty, we have paved the way for its entry into force. I am glad that even before its full implementation, our government has already made the necessary directive to comply with the MLC,” she said.

The treaty demands employers to provide seafarers with a safe and secure workplace that complies with safety standards; fair terms of employment; decent working and living conditions on board ship; health protection, medical care, welfare measures and other forms of social protection.

The MLC also covers basic rights such as freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining; the elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labor; abolition of child labor; and the elimination of discrimination in employment and occupation.

Meanwhile, under DOLE Department Order No. 129, seafarers working in the country are also entitled to night shift pay of 10 percent, five days incentive leave, 13th month pay, paid maternity and paternity leaves, parental leaves for single parents, special leave for those who underwent surgery and retirement pay upon reaching 60 years old. Seafarers are also entitled to other social benefits provided by the Social Security System (SSS), PhilHealth, and Pag-Ibig.

“As we comply with the provisions of the treaty, we hope that other countries will do the same. The MLC is of great import to us because 30 percent of all the personnel manning ships worldwide are Filipinos. Thus, we urge governments to effectively enforce their regulatory role in ensuring safer and secure shipping, in preventing marine pollution, and in ensuring decent work for seafarers,” Legarda concluded.