Sunday, August 25, 2013
MANILA-Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada hailed the coming into force this August 20, 2013 of the Maritime Labor Convention, regarded as the global “bill of rights of seafarers.”
Adopted by the International Labor Organization (ILO) in a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland in 2006, the Maritime Labor Convention, also called MLC 2006, is an international agreement through which countries and territories of the world, including respective employers and other stakeholders, commit to observe, protect and promote the standards of seafarers’ working condition.
As stipulated, MLC 2006 would come into force 12 months after the required registered ratifications by at least 30 countries with a total share in the world gross tonnage of ships of 33 percent. The Philippines ratified the Convention on 20 August 2012 through the adoption by Malacañang and the corresponding concurrence by the Senate. Estrada, as chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development, co-sponsored the Senate resolution for the said concurrence and steered its approval by the chamber. The Philippines’ ratification signaled the meeting of the requirement.
“MLC 2006 ensures the protection and welfare of some 1.2 million seafarers of the world, including the more or less 400,000 Filipino workers in the international and domestic shipping industries,” Estrada underscored.
He said the Convention provides for, among others, the comprehensive rights and protection at work for seafarers, particularly: safe and secure workplace; fair terms of employment; decent working and living conditions on board ship; and health protection, medical care, welfare measures and other forms of social protection.
MLC 2006 complements the key Conventions of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), such as the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974, as amended (SOLAS); the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping, 1978, as amended (STCW); and the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL).
The ILO had announced the official coming into force of MLC 2006 on the official time and date: 0700 GMT, 20 August, 2013. To mark the historic significance of the date, the ILO organized a high-level panel discussion on the occasion, held in Singapore and webcast worldwide.
To facilitate and strengthen the implementation of the provisions of the MLC 2006, Estrada authored Senate Bill 21 or the Magna Carta for Filipino Seafarers.
“This proposed Magna Carta for Seafarers seeks to ensure protection of the rights and welfare of overseas Filipino seafarers and their families. Specifically, it seeks to recognize the rights of Filipino seafarers, institute mechanisms for the enforcement and protection thereof, provide compulsory benefits and implement the standards set by the MLC 2006," he said.
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