SEANetwork, the global alliance of organizations and individuals fighting for the rights of seafarers, welcome the approval of House Bill 8057, the Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers in Congress last Monday, the 18th of January, 2021. We express our sincere gratitude to Cong. Ferdinand Gaite and the Makabayan Bloc and to all other legislators who sponsored it and voted for its approval. HB 8057 provides ample recognition and support for the rights of seafarers here and abroad. It sought to implement the international standards set by the ILO Maritime Labour Convention of 2006 or the MLC 2006 for all vessels manning Philippine crew. While we support the Bill, we share the reservations expressed by the Makabayan Bloc represented by Cong. Carlos Zarate when they voted YES with Reservations in the Plenary. The final draft approved does not contain the provisions of House Bill 6588 proposed by Makabayan to ensure the Security of Tenure of international seafarers by considering all who worked for a period of one year with the same company as regular and not contractual. We also join the reservations of Makabayan bloc regarding the non-inclusion of Fishers on ocean-going vessels in the Magna Carta.
The contractualization of seafarers has led to their exploitation even if they have worked for several years with the same company. Assuring their security of tenure will protect them from harassment by employers and assure their livelihood. The fishers in ocean-going vessels who were mostly hit by the COVID19 pandemic must also be treated as seafarers and provided protection. While we support the full implementation of the Magna Carta of HB 8057, we vow to continue working for the regularization of seafarers and their security of tenure, and the protection of Fishers in ocean going vessels, by lobbying in the Senate which is also passing a counterpart bill, or in the POEA for a revision of the contract in favor of seafarers.
SEANetwork, a loose formation of grassroots organizations of migrants and their families, Church leaders and Chaplaincy abroad and service institutions in the Philippines
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