Through MLC, 2006, DOLE works to protect seafarers’ rights

One year since it entered into force on 20 August 2013, the International Labor Organization’s Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 has begun to provide comprehensive welfare and protection at work for Filipino seafarers.

And to realize the rights of seafarers under the Convention, the DOLE, being the competent authority to implement its provisions, has issued appropriate policies that actualize the MLC, 2006.

Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz explained this yesterday as she greeted all Filipino overseas and domestic seafarers, partners, and other maritime stakeholders on the occasion of the first-year anniversary celebration of the MLC, 2006’s entry into force.

To date, 61 ILO member-states, including the Philippines, representing more than 80 percent of the world’s global shipping tonnage, have ratified the MLC, 2006.

“It took the global maritime community seven years to formulate the MLC, 2006. Now, we are beginning to enforce its provisions to provide our seafarers decent work,” she said.

Last April in Geneva, Switzerland, some 400 participants, at the first meeting of the Special Tripartite Committee established under MLC 2006, adopted new amendments to the MLC, 2006.

In an update, Baldoz recalled the policy issuances that the DOLE under her leadership have fashioned out to carry out the Convention, such as:

(1)  D.O. No. 129, or the Rules and Regulations Governing the Employment and Working Conditions of Seafarers Onboard Ships Engaged in Domestic Shipping (Issued on 7 June 2013 and which took effect on 3 July 2013). This order covers 8,981 Philippine registered ships engaged in domestic shipping, except warships, naval auxiliaries, government ships, and fishing vessels.

(2)  D.O. 130, or the Rules and Regulations on the Employment of Filipino Seafarers Onboard Philippine Registered Ships Engaged in International Voyage. (Issued on 7 June 2013 and took effect on 3 July 2013). This order covers 125 Philippine-registered ships with 500 gross tonnage and above engaged in international voyage, but excluded warships, naval auxiliaries, government ships not engaged in commercial operation, and ships of traditional build, such as pump boats and fishing vessels.

(3) D.O. No. 130-A, or the Guidelines on the Authorization of Recognized Organizations to Conduct Inspection and Certification of Philippine-Registered Ships Engaged in International Voyages, which was issued on 5 July 2013 and took effect on 19 July 2013. In accordance with D.O. No. 130-A, the DOLE has accredited eight recognized organizations/classification societies that performs inspection and certification functions of Philippine-registered ships engaged in international voyages, and issue the Maritime Labor Certificate on behalf of the Secretary of Labor and Employment.

“As of date, of the 138 Philippine-registered ships which have been issued the DMLC Part I, 96 PRS have been issued the Maritime Labor Certificate,” said Baldoz. “We have issued the necessary compliance forms pursuant to the three orders,” she stated.

According to Baldoz, the DOLE has also issued Labor Advisory No. 02-2013 on 8 June 2013 detailing the Requirements for Compliance with MLC, 2006, and Labor Advisory No. 04-2013 outlining the Requirements on Medical Certificates, Certificates on Catering Services, and Certificate of Inspection of Crew Accommodation on 13 August 2013.

Last February, the DOLE signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Department of Transportation and Communications to harmonize all government interventions at operational, program, and policy levels at the Maritime Industry Authority, Philippine Coast Guard, and other government agencies having jurisdiction and supervision with respect to compliance with the MLC, 2006 provisions.

“We have done this given the unique characteristic of the Philippines as a flag State, a port State, and a labor-supplying State under the Convention. This agreement details the responsibilities of each agency in the implementation, and provides for the establishment of a DOLE-DOTC Coordinating Mechanism at the national and regional levels to effectively implement the MLC, 2006,” Baldoz explained.

The labor and employment chief also said the DOLE has conducted several training to strengthen the capacity of implementers. For 2014, she said the DOLE has targeted 783 Philippine-registered ships with gross tonnage of 500 GRT and above and engaged in domestic shipping.

“With these developments, we are on track in the implementation of the MLC, 2006, the vital instrument which affords protection to approximately 368,158 overseas Filipino seafarers and the estimated 60,000 seafarers plying domestic waters,” Baldoz said.

“The Philippines is the largest source–comprising 30 percent–of the world’s more than 1.2 million seafarers. Therefore, our compliance with the MLC, 2006 will demonstrate to the world community our resolve to promote and enhance the welfare and to protect our seafarers,” Baldoz noted.

End\\ amguevarra

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