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Tell it to SunStar: Mourning the death of Pinoy mariners

By Bohol 3rd District Rep. Kristine Alexie Besas Tutor, one of the authors of the Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers

I mourn the death of the Filipino seafarers in that missile attack by Houthi rebels. The missile attack also injured at least six other crew members of the mv True Confidence, a Barbados-flagged, Liberian-owned bulk carrier.

Congress has a migrant workers scholarship fund lodged with the Owwa (Overseas Workers Welfare Administration). I hope the House Secretariat will immediately coordinate with Owwa to make sure the school-age dependents of the seafarers who were killed and injured will be immediately taken care of.

I also urge the Department of Foreign Affairs to communicate with our allies in the Middle East and with the multinational forces in the region. The Philippines’ appeal to them should include imploring them to ensure freedom of navigation and safety of all ships that navigate through the Gulf of Aden, the Red Sea, and the Suez Canal.

I encourage our colleagues on the bicameral conference committee for the Magna Carta of Seafarers to work faster and meticulously on the provisions that Malacañang pointed out as concerns that caused the aborted signing of the Magna Carta of Seafarers. Now, more than ever, we need the Magna Carta of Seafarers signed into law, but the legal hurdles must be effectively addressed first. We must get that law right because the lives and futures of seafarers are on the line.

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