ANTIPOLO City, Sept. 16, 2011—A seafarers’ group challenged the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to “concretize” its announcement that it is willing to ratify the five-year old convention on the rights of seafarers.
The call was issued after newspapers quoted Labor Secretary Rosalinda Dimapiliz-Baldoz, saying that the Philippines is more likely to ratify and adopt the Maritime Labor Convention (MLC) of 2006 as a show of gratitude for Filipino mariners who are contributing more or less a billion US dollars in remittances annually.
Atty. Joseph T. Entero, general secretary of the International Seafarers’ Action Center (ISAC) in Manila said that the DOLE should “take up the necessary steps” in ratifying the Maritime Labor Convention of 2006 as the rights and safety of the 300,000 Filipino seafarers are always at risk because of the lack of tougher laws and maritime safety standards.
The maritime labor lawyer said that Dimapiliz-Baldoz should be true to her word about the ratification and later, the adoption of the MLC.
“ISAC had been campaigning for the ratification, and eventually, adoption of this important maritime labor instrument, but the government has been too slow in acting on the issue,” said Entero in a statement.
He said that more than two years ago, ISAC and other seafarers’ organizations formed an alliance, which they called “Decent Work Alliance” that aims to press the Government to immediately ratify the MLC.
However, Entero lamented the former government of now Pampanga (2nd District) Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo seemed to ignore the groups’ call to ratify the Convention as the number of cases of abuses against seafarers continue to increase.
“A consolidation of all the existing maritime labor instruments for the past 80 years, the MLC would ensure that the ship-owners, the labor-exporting countries like the Philippines, and the flag-states would be held accountable if ever there are troubles in the ships due to the neglect or non-compliance to maritime labor and safety standards,” Entero explained.
“We urge the good secretary and our lawmakers to take up the necessary steps in ratifying the MLC, for it would provide the necessary protection to the rights and safety of more than 300,000 Filipino and Filipina seafarers manning about 50,000 international commercial fleets,” he said.
Meanwhile, Entero said they will be monitoring the progress of the ratification of the MLC, adding that they are much willing to help if the Aquino government needs it. (Noel Sales Barcelona/CBCPNews)