Legarda Bats for Creation of Seafarers’ CommissionSeptember 29, 2013
In celebration of the National Seafarer’s Day, Senator Loren Legarda renewed her call for the institution of mechanisms that would ensure better protection and provision of necessary services for Filipino sea-based workers.
Legarda said that while the country has started implementing improved policies for the benefit and protection of Filipino seafarers as a result of its ratification of the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC), there is a continuing need to ensure that their concerns are given adequate attention by a dedicated agency for seafarers.
“I am happy that the Maritime Labour Convention is now in effect and our country has made the necessary directive to comply with it. But we still have more work to do to effectively address the specific concerns and needs of Filipino maritime workers,” said Legarda, sponsor of the Resolution that recommended the Senate’s concurrence in the ratification of the MLC 2006.
“We want to create a National Seafarers Commission (NSC) which shall serve as a centralized government agency that will provide the necessary services, supervision, regulation and guidance the Filipino seafarer needs in order to become a globalized professional,” she added.
The Senator explained that the proposed legislation, under Senate Bill No. 350, seeks to create a one-stop shop to attend to all the requirements of seafarers and focus on the unique demands and conditions of the seafaring profession. Training programs, seminars, certifications and other documents needed by the seafarer will be readily made available under one agency.
At present, Filipino seafarers have to go to different agencies to secure the necessary documentation for them to practice their profession locally and internationally. They have to secure their Seafarers Identification and Record Book (SIRB) and Certificate of Competency from the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) and their Seafarer’s Registration Certificate (SRC) from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA). Other trainings, seminars and documents have to be secured from various agencies and organizations such as the National Telecommunications Commission, Philippine Coast Guard and the Boards of Marine Deck and Engineer Officers of the Professional Regulation Commission.
“Filipino maritime workers are important human resources of our country. We have to understand that the seafaring profession has unique demands and conditions, thus, we must guarantee that they will be given equal attention and protection by our government. Furthermore, we must ensure that our seafarers comply with the international requirements and maintain their edge over their foreign counterparts,” said Legarda.