PRESIDENT Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has certified the enactment of the proposed Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers as urgent in a bid to ensure the welfare of Filipino seafarers, including the reintegration program, grievance system, and social welfare benefits.
Marcos wrote a letter to Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, urging them to immediately pass Senate Bill 2221, or the “Act Providing for the Magna Carta of Filipinos Seafarers.”
The proposed measure aims to address recurring deficiencies in the domestic laws pertaining to the training and accreditation of thousands of Filipino seafarers that endanger their employment in the European market in particular, and the global maritime arena, in general.
It also shows the country’s commitment to comply with its obligations in ensuring the Filipino seafarers’ capabilities through training is at par with the international standards and those set by relevant international conventions.
In March, the House of Representatives approved on final reading House Bill 7325, or the Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers, with 304 affirmative votes.
The proposed measure was among the 20 priority pieces of legislation of the administration.
Zubiri earlier said they are seeing the approval of the bill on final reading within the week.
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development listed the Philippines as among the top source of seafarers in the world in 2021.
According to the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina), 400,000 Filipino seafarers were deployed overseas, on average, from 2016 to 2021.
Earlier, the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) flagged the country for not aligning with international maritime safety standards and marine education, particularly with the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping (STCW), putting thousands of seafarers’ jobs at risk.
Among the deficiencies noted by the EU on the country’s maritime and seafaring sector are on monitoring, supervision and evaluation of manning training and assessment; examination and assessment of competence, programs and course design and approval; availability and use of training facilities and simulators; onboard training and issue revalidation and recognition of certification endorsements.
Marina and the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) vowed to work closely together to monitor maritime schools and ensure that the enhanced curriculum is being implemented and that the institutions are furnished with the necessary equipment and facilities in order for the country to produce better seafarers.
They also tapped the Philippine Coast Guard as a partner in monitoring and evaluating the maritime education institutions nationwide. (SunStar Philippines)