MANILA, July 14, 2011â€”With the increasing number of abuses against Filipino seafarers, Manila-based International Seafarersâ€™ Action Center (ISAC) Foundation, Inc. in Manila appealed to the Benigno C. Aquino III government to ratify the International Labor Organizationâ€™s (ILO) Maritime Labor Convention of 2006.
Attorney Joseph T. Entero, ISAC secretary-general, in a statement said that their organization has been handling numerous cases of abuse, ranging from nonpayment of salaries and benefits, up to mysterious deaths of Filipino mariners boarded in different foreign ships.
It is saddening, he said, that despite the significant contribution of the seafarers in the countryâ€™s economy, the government seems to neglect them.
â€œLast year, our seafarers had remitted as much as $3.7 billionâ€”an increase of more than 11 percent from the total dollar remittance by our mariners in 2009. However, the government seems [to be] continuously disregarding our mariners by having the Maritime Labor Convention of 2006 left unratified,â€ Entero stated.
He said that there are already 13 countries that adopted the 5-year old Convention, but unfortunately, the Philippines is not one of them.
â€œThe MLC provides a more comprehensive rights and protection at work for the world’s more than 1.2 million seafarers. Its primary aim is to provide decent work for seafarers and to secure the economic interests of ship owners which follow high shipping standards. It consolidates and updates the 68 international labor standards related to the Maritime sector, which the ILO and the stakeholders had adopted for the last 80 years,â€ Entero explained.
He added that with Filipinos constituting the 25 per cent of the entire marinersâ€™ population in the world, it is high time for President Aquino and our lawmakers, to consider its ratification and adoption. (Noel Sales Barcelona)