THE Magna Carta for Seafarers bill is currently undergoing final review after being sent back by the Palace in February, the Department of Transportation (DoTr) said.

“What I heard is it is about to be signed… I cannot exactly say when but as far as I know there is a final draft. The issues raised before have been settled,” Elmer Francisco U. Sarmiento, Transportation undersecretary, told reporters on Wednesday.

In February, President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. had been due to sign the measure into law, but Mr. Marcos had asked for the review. The bill was subsequently recalled by Congress.

The bill, which was certified as urgent last year, seeks to establish rights and guarantees to affordable education and training for seafarers.

“It was recalled by Congress because of issues coming from the private sector and even from the government,” he added.

Mr. Sarmiento said one of the issues being raised is that the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) should invest in training ships.

“Where would they get the budget? That was also considered,” Mr. Sarmiento said.

The proposed Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers bill also aims to ensure that “training, facilities, and equipment are at par with international standards and those set by relevant international conventions.”

Mr. Sarmiento said that this issue was also raised by domestic ship owners as international shipping operates differently from domestic shipping.

“One (difference) is distance and time… This has been considered in the new draft,” he said. — Ashley Erika O. Jose