Press Release
July 4, 2006


Senator Edgardo J. Angara today advocated the welfare of Filipino seafarers by calling for the protection and promotion of the seafaring employment industry, revision of the legislative code for the maritime employment industry, and initiatives on educational curriculum, employment system and post-employment support for seafarers and their families.

"The Philippines remains the biggest source of seafarers in the global market for almost three decades now, hence all the more we must protect the welfare of Pinoy seamen and their families," he said, "A good start would be to come up with a definitive policy that will put together provisions on seafarers scattered in various laws."

Angara, who authored the "Magna Carta for Filipino Seafarers", said the overall aim of the bill is to improve the economic and social status of Filipino seafarers. The said piece of legislation is considered a major breakthrough in Philippine maritime industry as the demand for RP seafarers increased in January this year.

"The challenge now lies for the Philippines to maintain its dominant presence vis--vis competition posed by emerging sources of labor such as China, Ukraine, India, Indonesia, Poland and Greece," he said. "We need to create a polished set of policies and rights."

Angara added that Filipino seafarers have been giving remittances contributing to US dollar earnings of the country. He estimated that as much as 300 million US dollars were sent back to Filipino seamen's families every year. On top of that, Angara noted that the seafaring industry is growing at 10 percent in the next five to 10 years.

"The maritime-labor industry will be seriously undermined if the Philippine government does not take decisive steps to improve not only the national system of maritime education and training in the country, but also the development and implementation of a strong and consistent agenda for Filipino seafarers," Angara said.

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