Labor groups hail removal of ‘escrow’ in Magna Carta for Filipino Seafarers Bill; urge PBBM to sign law

- Advertisement -

A congressional decision to delete the “escrow” provision in the proposed Magna Carta for Filipino Seafarers have been hailed by various labor groups who called the deletion “a victory for seafarers.”

The Federation of Free Workers (FFW) and the Association of Marine Officers and Ratings, Inc. (AMOR Seaman) hailed the bicameral committee of the two Houses of Congress for deleting the controversial provision that would have mandated the payment by seafarers of an “execution bond” to receive money claims they have already won in court.

“This is a victory for seafarers,” said Jacinto Rivera, spokesperson of AMOR Seaman. “We are now pleading for President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to sign the latest version of the Magna Carta for Filipino Seafarers without the execution bond and the escrow provision,” added Rivera, who is an oiler seaman.

Both Houses of Congress need to approve the bi-cameral conference report before it submits it to the President for enactment into law.

PREJUDICIAL, DISCRIMINATORY

Congress has been in hot waters for inserting an “escrow” provision in the proposed Magna Carta for Filipino Seafarers Law.

Labor and Trade Union groups have protested the escrow provision, saying that it would prevent seafarers from receiving their money claims despite winning their cases in the lower courts, if such cases are still pending appeal in higher courts.

Congress later on replaced the provision with an “execution bond” that would have required seafarers to post a bond to receive what is due them after winning a case, if employers appealed the decision.

“Both the ‘escrow’ and ‘executive bond’ provisions are discriminatory, a violation of the equal protection clause of the Bill of Rights,  since no such requirements are mandated on land-based OFWs and workers based in the Philippines. Thus, it has no basis in law, jurisprudence or practice. It will set a bad precedent and deprive seafarers of equal protection from the law,” said Atty Sonny Matula, president of the FFW.

AMOR Seaman and FFW expressed elation over the bi-cameral conference’s decision.

“We believe the ‘escrow’ and ‘executive bond’ provisions are prejudicial to and discriminatory against all Filipino seafarers especially to disabled and sick seafarers,” said Rivera.

PAYMENT TO ADDRESS MEDICATION

Rivera explained that seafarers seek payment of monetary benefits because of their medical condition.

“Many Filipino seafarers get sick at work or get disabled because of work, and incur big debts in the process, because they have to sustain their medication. Sadly, others die even before the Supreme Court releases its final judgment on their case,” said Rivera.

The aggrieved seafarer, Rivera further said, will be forced to redirect his money to the unjust execution bond. “Common sense tells us that the poor and sick seafarer’s money should be used for his medication and for immediate needs of his family. The execution bond therefore further puts in danger the economic well- being of the seafarer.”

Rivera explained that the execution bond provision is truly violative of the equal protection clause, anti-labor and anti-OFW, making it very difficult for the seafarers to receive the winning award.

THANKFUL TO SENATORS

442017274 1368394140465841 20983440475694364 N
AMOR Seaman Spokesperson Jack Rivera expresses gratitude to Sen. Risa Hontiveros for her unwavering support to remove bond requirement in Magna Carta for Filipino Seafarers Bill.

“We thank Senate President Chiz Escudero, Sen. Raffy Tulfo, Sen. Koko Pimentel, and Sen. Risa Hontiveros, as well as the other lawmakers in the bi-cameral committee for seeing the light in our pleas” said AMOR Seaman and the FFW.

“We believe our good President will help us  and sign the Magna Carta for Filipino Seafarers as soon as possible to ensure our rights, protection and welfare,” added Rivera.

AMOR Seaman and the FFW also praised Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma and Justice Secretary Crispin Remulla for their stance against the said provision in the Magna Carta for Seafarers Bill.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

JUST IN

More Stories