Press Release
December 4, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Education, Culture and the Arts, pressed for the improvement of the country's maritime education and training following reports that Filipino seafarers are at risk of being banned from European Union ships.

The EU is set to announce next month whether the Philippines is complying with the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW). An unfavorable outcome will stop shipping firms from hiring Filipino mariners.

The EU monitored and investigated the Philippines in 2006 and reported in 2009 that the country's implementation of the STCW, an International Maritime Organization (IMO) Convention adopted by the EU, was not sufficient.

"The maritime industry will be seriously undermined if the 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 comprehensive agenda for Filipino seafarers," Angara said.

According to the Department of Labor and Employment, Filipino seafarers make up approximately 30 percent of the world's maritime manpower, contributing about 25 percent of the remittances in 2010.

Angara estimated that Filipino seamen remit as much as US$300 million to their families every year. He also stressed that any kind of ban in hiring Filipino seafarers will have a negative effect on the economy.

"The Philippines has been the biggest source of seafarers in the global market for almost three decades now. We have to maintain our dominant presence vis-a-vis competition posed by emerging sources of labor such as China, Ukraine, India, Indonesia, Poland and Greece," he said.

Angara authored the proposed Magna Carta for Filipino Seafarers which aims to improve the economic and social status of Filipino seafarers by giving them access to training, protecting them against illegal recruitment, and ensuring their health and safety while on board.

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