Magna Carta for Filipino Seafarers Approved at House of Representatives

The Philippine House of Representatives has approved unanimously the proposed Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers on third and final reading.

Voting 236-0, the lower chamber of Congress approved House Bill 5685, which seeks to improve the working conditions, career prospects and terms of employment for seafarers while uplifting the socio-economic well-being of their families.

The scope of the proposed law includes Filipino seafarers engaged, employed or working in any capacity on board Philippine-registered ships with domestic or international operations, as well as those on board foreign-registered vessels.

However, it doesn’t cover naval warships and auxiliaries, government ships not engaged in commercial operations, ships of traditional build and fishing vessels.
The bill stipulates that seafarers shall have the right to a safe and secure workplace that complies with safety standards, as well as decent working and living conditions on board a commercial vessel.

In addition, they shall be provided with medical care, welfare measures, and other forms of health and social protection. It further provides fair terms and conditions of employment including salary commensurate with their rank, hours of work, basis for wage computation, minimum number of working hours, and rest period consistent with Philippine laws or international maritime conventions.

At the same time, the measure mandates the government to establish an integrated document processing center where seafarers as well as the general public can transact with at least 15 government agencies.