By Helen Castaño | 09:51 AM September 28, 2023
Rep. Kristine Alexie Besas-Tutor of Bohol’s 3rd district said that the House of Representatives is ready for bicameral conference to reconcile the House and Senate versions of the Magna Carta of Seafarers as soon as the Senate approves its Senate Bill 2221.
“As one of the authors of House Bill 7325 and as Chairperson of the House Committee on Civil Service and Professional Regulation, I am looking forward to the passage and effectivity of the Magna Carta of Seafarers. Tens of thousands of Boholanos happen to be seafarers and dependents of seafarers, ” said Tutor in a statement on Wednesday.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has certified as urgent the enactment of the proposed Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers, which will specify their rights and ensure their welfare.
The certification aims “to address recurring deficiencies in the domestic laws pertaining to the training and accreditation of thousands of Filipino seafarers which endanger their employment in the European market, in particular, and the global maritime arena, in general.
Tutor said the Magna Carta of Seafarers will protect the rights and promote the welfare of our seafaring professionals and specialists overseas and locally.
She said seafarers’ magna carta bill applies to domestic and overseas seafarers.
“Yes, local seafarers are also covered by this legislation. This bill is not just for OFW seafarers,” she assured.
She said there are many provisions for the education and training of seafarers in the maritime colleges and training institutions. These provisions are meant to address the myriad of recurring concerns of foreign employers and domestic shipping on the quality of education and training of Filipino seafarers.
“We hope the implementors are getting ready to faithfully and effectively implement the Magna Carta as soon as it becomes law. Legislation is only half the battle. The other half is implementation,” she said.
There are also many provisions on conditions of employment and working conditions of seafarers on local and international ships.
“Hopefully, the wide gap in maritime standards and law enforcement between international and domestic shipping will gradually narrow in the coming years. This is crucial to ensuring the safety of crews, passengers, and cargo sailing in local waters. We must reduce the number of maritime incidents and disasters. This Magna Carta is an important part of that,” Tutor said.
In a letter dated Sept. 25 to Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, Marcos President raised the need for the “immediate enactment” of Senate Bill No. 2221, titled “An Act Providing for the Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers,” in accordance with Article VI, Section 26 (2) of the 1987 Constitution which exempts bills passed by either chamber of Congress from the three-reading rule.