PHL Elected Vice-Chair of International Committee on Seafarers’ Welfare

April 14, 2014

Filipino seafarers now have an assurance of continued protection in the international community, after the Philippines was elected vice chair of the Special Tripartite Committee of the Maritime Labor Convention 2006 (MLC 2006) in Geneva.

The Department of Labor and Employment said the committee held its first meeting at the International Labour Organization in Geneva from April 7 to 11, with Philippine Overseas Employment Administration head Hans Leo Cacdac leading the Philippine delegation.

“The Philippines, as vice chairman, will serve for a period of three years. Our role as vice chair is to attend officers’ meetings and huddles during the sessions, in order to sort out issues and concerns in the course of the meetings,” Cacdac said.

Cacdac said the Special Tripartite Committee deliberated on amendments to MLC 2006, including financial security on abandonment and death or long-term disability of seafarers.

“The financial security on abandonment is meant to ensure the provision of an expeditious and effective system to assist seafarers in the event of abandonment, through direct access to payment of outstanding wages and entitlements, reasonable expenses including repatriation costs, and costs of necessary maintenance and support. The financial security will cover seafarers, including those on board Philippine-registered vessels, only,” Cacdac said.

He added the financial security on death/long-term disability is meant to assure payment of compensation in full and without delay.

It will cover domestic and overseas seafarers, he added.

Cacdac also said the Philippines supported an important proposal by Germany and approved by the Committee, that provides the Philippines flexibility in terms of recognizing the Social Security System, Employees Compensation Commission, and PhilHealth systems.

In his report to DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, Cacdac said the committee’s members have “special competence in the area of maritime labor standards.”

For her part, Baldoz said the Philippines’ election as vice-chair “indicates the stature, reputation, and respect that the country has earned as an active member of the ILO and its instrumentalities.” — Joel Locsin/JDS, GMA News