Acting Senate President Jinggoy Estrada has re-filed a bill seeking to protect the rights and welfare of Filipino seafarers and their families as set by the Maritime Labor Convention (MLC) of 2006.
In filing Senate Bill 21, Estrada said the draft Magna Carta for Seafarers also seeks to institute mechanisms for the enforcement and protection of their rights, provide compulsory benefits and implement the standards set by the MLC.
Estrada, chairman of the Senate committee on labor, employment and human resources development, co-sponsored Senate ratification of the MLC of the International Labor Organization (ILO). Senate Resolution 118, or Resolution Concurring in the Ratification of MLC, 2006, was adopted on Aug. 13, 2012. The Philippines is the 30th country to ratify MLC.
The bill defines the seafarers’ fundamental rights to a safe and secure workplace and to fair terms of employment as prescribed by the MLC.
It also covers the right to self-organization, to engage in collective bargaining, and to participate in democratic exercises, among others.
Once passed into law, Filipino seafarers will have the right to be consulted before any policy or regulation affecting them will be adopted.
They will also be protected against discrimination by reason of race, sex, religion and political opinion; will have access to communication, and decent wage rates as set by the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards.
Estrada said the magna carta also gives the seafarers an eight-hour work period, which should not exceed 14 hours in a 24-hour work period, or 72 hours in any 7-day period.
According to ILO, there are more than 1.2 million seafarers worldwide and Filipino seafarers make up 30 percent of the global shipping fleet.