The Philippines Upholds Seafarer’s Rights Under International Law

 

09 August 2012 –Senator Loren Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, underscored commitment to seafarers' rights by sponsoring the Senate Resolution to concur in the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC), 2006.

According to the Senator, the Philippines is famed for the quality and competitiveness of its seafarers. Filipinos account for an estimated 30% of the 1.2 million seafarers in the global shipping fleet today. In 2011 alone, the country deployed 343,587 seafarers – a number that ushered in $4.3 billion in remittances.

The trend does not suggest a waning of seafarer deployment figures. From 2008 to 2010, the number of Filipino seafarers being deployed overseas increased by an average of 16% every year, and in the domestic front, another 40,000 seafarers are employed in local shipping fleets.

The Maritime Labour Convention, adopted by the General Conference of the International Labour Organization on 23 February 2006, is the seafarers' bill of rights.

The Convention provides comprehensive rights and protection at work for 1.2 million seafarers worldwide, including nearly 400,000 Filipino domestic and international seafarers. It is envisioned to spur the modernization of shipping fleets to comply with international standards. By concurring in its ratification, the Philippines will join in the call for governments to effectively enforce its regulatory role in ensuring safer and secure shipping, in preventing marine pollution, and in ensuring decent work for seafarers.

Senator Legarda said that it also erases ambiguity on the definition of seafarer as the Convention covers not just the crew involved in navigating or operating the ship but also, other workers including cabin and cleaning personnel, bar staff, waiters, entertainers, singers, kitchen staff, casino personnel and estheticians – positions occupied by thousands of Filipinos in foreign vessels.

The action demanded of the Philippine Senate is of great consequence to 1.2 million seafarers worldwide, 400,000 of whom are our very own. I fully support the concurrence in MLC, 2006, and urge this Chamber's immediate concurrence in the ratification of this Convention. -END-