Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III urged maritime industry stakeholders to uphold the guidelines on the fair treatment of some 500,000 Filipino seafarers as prescribed by the International Maritime Organization and International Labor Organization.
The Department of Labor and Employment, together with the Seafarer’s Rights International led a regional meeting with maritime industry stakeholders and came up with the “Manila Statement on the Fair Treatment of Seafarers in the Event of a Maritime Accident.”
According to SRI, an international pan-industry body researching maritime and seafarers’ law, it is an inherent risk in the working lives of seafarers that they may be subjected to criminal charges either of a professional or a non-professional nature, simply from carrying out their duties.
This was affirmed during the regional meeting.
The Manila statement aims to raise awareness; develop further education, training, and human capacity; and extend and develop cooperation among stakeholders on the proper and effective implementation of the IMO and ILO guidelines.
The guidelines, which are voluntary, do not seek to interfere with any State’s domestic, criminal, or civil law. Instead, they balance the rights and obligations of stakeholders to whom the Guidelines are addressed, namely port and coastal states, flag states, the seafarers’ states, ship-owners, and seafarers.
“Given the unique characteristics of the Philippines as a flag and a labor supplying State, and with the cooperation of all Asian nations through your representations, we can make the guidelines on fair treatment of seafarers as enshrined in the Manila Declaration on the Protection of Seafarers a success,” Bello said.