AFTER days of lengthy interpellations, the Senate late Wednesday night passed on second and on third and final reading the Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers, which the President certified urgent earlier in consideration of the need to uplift the welfare of thousands of Filipino seafarers who remain in demand overseas, and to help the sector better comply with international standards.
Sen. Raffy Tulfo steered the passage of Senate Bill No. (SBN) 2221, or the Magna Carta which seeks to secure seafarers’ rights to decent, just, and humane conditions of employment aboard sea-going vessels and sets guidelines for their training and education, overseas employment, and retirement.
The bill was approved with 14 votes, no negative vote, and no abstention.
“I would like to thank my colleagues, especially you, Mr. President (SP Juan Miguel Zubiri), who have been supporting me from day one, and of course, the seafarers. They are always with me, and I always consult them. Of course, the Department of Migrant Workers, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, my staff who worked overtime to make these things possible, and to all the seafarers, this is all for you,” Tulfo said after the chamber passed the measure.
Earlier on Wednesday, Sen. Pia Cayetano introduced amendments to the bill during the plenary session on Wednesday, September 27, 2023.
Cayetano called for more specific and reasonable language in the bill’s provisions to prevent confusion and challenges in its implementation. “Let’s not get their hopes up when we cannot implement it properly,” Cayetano said in Filipino.
In his letter to Senate President Zubiri dated Sept. 25, President Ferdinand E. Marcos Jr. said the certification was made “in order to address recurring deficiencies in our domestic laws pertaining to the training and accreditation of thousands of Filipino seafarers which endanger their employment in the European market in particular, and the global maritime arena in general.”
The bill, Marcos added, “guarantees to the international community that the Philippines will comply with its obligations of ensuring that our training, facilities, and equipment are at par with international standards and those set by relevant conventions.”
Image credits: Nonie Reyes