Tuesday, March 26, 2013
MANILA, March 26, 2013-Senator Loren Legarda today expressed support to the call of Guimaras Governor Felipe Hilan Nava for science-based governance, as vital for a country, such as the Philippines, that is composed of mostly coastal areas vulnerable to climate change.
Legarda said that in her capacity as the United Nations Regional Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia-Pacific, she will have a collaboration with Governor Nava, President of the Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA) Network of Local Governments (PNLG) for Sustainable Coastal Development, to work on the proposal.
“There are 832 municipalities and 25 cities in the country that are classified as coastal areas, which increasingly face the threats of climate change, particularly sea level rise and weather in extremes. Given this vulnerability, Governor Nava is right that we must use science-based approach in governing our communities,” she pointed out.
“When Guimaras was able to overcome the greatly challenging 2006 oil spill, Governor Nava proved that working with the science community is key to effective governance that builds a resilient and sustainable community,” Legarda said.
The Senator explained that local government leaders should collaborate and coordinate with the state universities and colleges and even private universities to involve them in the decision-making process of local government units.
She also encouraged coastal municipalities to be members of PNLG and join in the planning, development and management of their coastal resources. At present, only Guimaras, Bataan, Batangas and Cavite are members of PNLG.
“Science will be a major component in making our communities disaster-resilient especially in updating geo-hazard maps, integrating risk information in development planning, preserving ecosystems, establishing effective early warning systems and conducting education and information campaign like a disaster risk reduction workshop for barangays,” she said.
“The magnitude of the work ahead of us may be daunting, but together, and with political will and commitment of all leaders, we can make our communities sustainable and resilient against disasters and climate risks,” Legarda concluded.
MANILA, March 26, 2013-Senator Loren Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, reminded Filipino seafarers of their rights and privileges that are ensured under the Maritime Labor Convention (MLC), 2006 when it takes effect within the year.
Legarda, who sponsored and ushered the Senate’s concurrence in the ratification of the Convention, said that the MLC is the seafarers’ bill of rights.
She explained that the Convention covers basic rights such as freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining; the elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labor; the effective abolition of child labor; and the elimination of discrimination with respect to employment and occupation.
“The right to a safe and secure workplace that complies with safety standards; right to fair terms of employment; right to decent working and living conditions on board ship; and right to health protection, medical care, welfare measures and other forms of social protection are clearly laid down as self-evident rights whose enforcement is demanded by the Convention, and not suggested, as a matter of course,” she added.
Legarda also said that the Convention is envisioned to spur the modernization of shipping fleets to comply with international standards.
“Sea-worthy, safe, efficient, and hopefully, environment-friendly ships will become the norm more than the exception. Governments are called upon by the Convention to effectively enforce its regulatory role in ensuring safer and secure shipping, in preventing marine pollution, and in ensuring decent work for seafarers,” she pointed out.
The Senator also said that MLC erases ambiguity on the definition of seafarer as the Convention covers not just the crew involved in navigating or operating the ship but also, other workers including cabin and cleaning personnel, bar staff, waiters, entertainers, singers, kitchen staff, casino personnel and estheticians—positions occupied by thousands of Filipinos in foreign vessels.
“Filipinos account for an estimated 30% of the 1.2 million seafarers in the global shipping fleet today. The sea could be one of the most dangerous and harshest environments for workers, which is why we have worked hard to ensure fair working conditions and security of tenure for our seafarers through the MLC. We take pride in our seafarers’ competence, dedication, hard work and contribution to the nation and there’s no better way to give back to them than by ensuring that the protection of our Filipino seafarers’ interest is imbued with national interest,” Legarda concluded.
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