A BILL establishing the rights of seafarers and a certification system that meets international standards was approved by a House of Representatives committee on Thursday.
The still unnumbered bill, one of the House’s priority measures for 2023, institutes a magna carta for the country’s maritime workers and provides for a “system of education, training, certification, and licensing” to ensure a sustainable pool of competent and world-class seafarers.
Kabayan Party-list Rep. Ron P. Salo, chair of the overseas workers affairs committee that approved the measure, said the bill aims to “address the recent findings of the European Maritime Safety Association or EMSA on audits of Philippine compliance to the international convention standards of training, certification and watchkeeping.”
In a November 2022 House panel meeting, Department of Migrant Workers Assistant Secretary Jerome T. Pampolina reported that the Philippines failed to comply with the international training standards for seafarers, with EMSA’s audit citing 13 shortcomings and 23 grievances.
The bill provides that sailors are entitled to a safe and secure workplace under safety standards; fair terms and conditions of employment; decent working and living conditions onboard a ship; and medical care and other forms of social protection.
Sailors also have the right to affordable education and training.
Female seafarers are also protected in the proposed measure in terms of equal pay, opportunities for promotion, training, and scholarships. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz