Metro Manila ▼
Manila City ▼
Las Pinas City
San Juan City
Department of Labor and Employment
Kagawaran ng Paggawa at Empleyo
Muralla St. cor. Gen. Luna St., Intramuros,
Baldoz: Ratification of MLC, 2006 ensures protection of rights and welfare of Filipino seafarers
Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday expressed heartfelt gratitude to the Senate of the Philippines for concurring to the ratification of the International Labour Organization's (ILO) Maritime Labor Convention, 2006 (MLC, 2006), saying the concurrence moves the country alongside other countries of the world promoting the interest, ensuring the safety, and enhancing the welfare of seafarers.
"Through its affirmative vote concurring to the ratification by President Benigno S. Aquino III of the MLC, 2006, the Senate brings our country to an era of quality shipping and strengthened protection of our seafarers. The paramount goal of our ratification of the Convention is ensuring decent work for our seafarers," said Baldoz, who particularly cited Senator Loren Legarda, Chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, for shepherding the smooth sailing of the process of concurrence in the Upper Chamber.
"Our ratification of the MLC, 2006 defines the support of the Philippine government to further improve the country’s maritime industry," she added.
Baldoz said the MLC, 2006 will provide comprehensive rights and protection at work for 1.2 million seafarers worldwide, including nearly 400,000 Filipino seafarers who account for an estimated 30 percent of the seafarers in the global shipping fleet today.
“The Philippines, considered as a major supplier of maritime labor to global shipping, will definitely benefit from this Convention," remarked Baldoz, explaining that the country has taken a leadership role in the crafting of the MLC, 2006 by its active participation in the work of the ILO's Preparatory Technical Maritime Committee. Secretary Baldoz, herself, as former administrator of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, was chosen as chairperson of one of three ILO technical committees assigned to consolidate the international maritime instruments into “one” maritime labor convention.
The MLC, 2006, dubbed as the bill of rights of seafarers, is a global instrument adopted by the ILO on 23 February 2006 to provide for the rights and protection of seafarers. It sets comprehensive minimum requirements for seafarers to be employed on a ship as well as the standards and conditions of their employment, hours of work/rest, accommodation, recreational facilities, food and catering, health protection, medical care, welfare and social security protection. It also establishes a compliance and enforcement mechanism based on inspection and certification of the seafarers’ working and living conditions.
Once it enters into force, the MLC, 2006 will be the “fourth pillar” of the international regulatory regime for quality shipping, complementing 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), International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping, 1978, as amended (STCW) and International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 73/78 (MARPOL).
Between 1920 and 1996, a total of 39 Conventions, 29 Recommendations and one Protocol concerning seafarers have been adopted by the ILO. These have been consolidated into one milestone Convention, the MLC, 2006.
The MLC, 2006 aims to be globally applicable, easily understandable, readily updatable, and uniformly enforced.
“The importance of the Convention to the global maritime industry is obvious. Once enforced, the rights of seafarers and all parties concerned are guaranteed. The Convention aims to achieve both decent work for seafarers and secure the economic interest in fair competition of quality ship owners. That, in itself, is a major contribution to global economic growth," said Baldoz.
Under the MLC, 2006, ships of ratifying countries that provide decent conditions of work for seafarers will have protection against unfair competition from substandard ships and benefit from a system of certification, avoiding or reducing the likelihood of lengthy delays related to inspections in foreign ports.
The Philippines is the 30th country to ratify the MLC, 2006. The first is Singapore. Countries which have already ratified the MLC, 2006 are Cyprus, Liberia, Marshall Islands, Bahamas, Panama, Norway, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Spain, Croatia, Bulgaria, Canada, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Switzerland, Gabon, Benin, Denmark, Latvia, Antigua and Barbuda, Luxembourg, Kiribati, Netherlands, Australia, Tuvalu, Saint Kiss and Togo, Poland, and Sweden.
Countries that have ratified the Convention will require ship owners to put the standards in place before allowing seafarers onboard ships. They have the right to inspect vessels for compliance before port calls are allowed. The Convention gives these countries the right to deny ships that are not compliant from sailing onwards. This applies to ships regardless whether the countries they are registered in have ratified the Convention or not.
The Philippines deployed 343,587 seafarers in 2011, a number that ushered in $4.3 billion in remittances. From 2008 to 2010, the number of Filipino seafarers being deployed overseas increased by an average of 16 percent a year, while in the domestic front, another 40,000 seafarers are employed in local shipping fleets.
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