Press Release
January 16, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara expressed his concern over the four Filipino seafarers captured in the Gulf of Aden last week.

"Every few weeks we hear about another ship being taken along with their crew--and some of those seafarers are Filipinos. This is a troubling situation, and I hope that the government does what it can to bring our countrymen to safety," said Angara.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced Wednesday that suspected Somali pirates seized a Danish cargo ship near the coast of Oman. The ship was later abandoned, with the pirates taking the crew members--four Filipinos and two Danes.

This is just the latest in a recent string of attacks by international pirates. Two more Filipinos were captured when their ship was taken in the Indian Ocean on the first day of the new year, bringing the total to 113 Filipino seafarers being held captive onboard hijacked vessels.

Angara, author of the Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarer's bill, said that more stringent security measures were needed to protect around 300,000 Filipino maritime workers moving in international waters.

"Almost a quarter of all the seafarers in the entire world are Filipinos--this high demand is a testament to their skills and abilities. It is now our job to protect the welfare of these workers and their families by ensuring their safety and security while doing their jobs," he asserted.

Senate Bill 2062 or "An Act Instituting the Magna Carta for Filipino Seafarers", seeks to improve the working conditions of Filipino maritime workers, and to provide for their continuing training and education. It is now pending the Senate Committees of Labor, Employment & Human Resources Development and Foreign Relations following the First Reading in the 15th Congress.

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