THE HOUSE of Representatives on Wednesday gave 2nd reading approval to a bill seeking to protect the rights of Filipino sailors, one of Congress’ priority measures.
At the plenary, lawmakers approved through a voice vote a bill instituting the magna carta for seafarers.
KABAYAN Party-list Rep. Ron P. Salo, one of the sponsors of the measure, told the plenary that shipowners are committed to “accommodate cadets equivalent to not less than 50% of the total number of their crew-complement, while cargo ships shall be required to accommodate cadets equivalent to not less than 30% of the total number of their crew-complement.”
“This will directly address the shortage of training ships for our graduates which are around 25,000 to 30,000 annually,” he said.
Under House Bill No. 7325, sailors are entitled to a safe and secure workplace based on global standards; fair employment conditions; decent working and living conditions; and medical care and other forms of social protection. Sailors should also be given affordable education and training.
Assistant Minority Leader Arlene D. Brosas called the measure “watered down.”
She cited that it does not include seafarers working in fishing vessels, does not acknowledge seafarers’ right to security of tenure, and only allows seafarers who won a labor case to get their monetary compensation when a court decision is finalized. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz