Jobs of 30,000 Filipino seafarers in danger of “drowning” – TESDAMAN

Jobs of 30,000 Filipino seafarers in danger of “drowning” – TESDAMAN

Sen. Joel “TESDAMAN” Villanueva warned that the European Union’s (EU) recognition for Filipino seafarers might be revoked if the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) is still not properly implemented in the country’s maritime education, training, and certification systems.

Villanueva called on the heads of the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) to save the Filipino seafarer sector from “drowning” due to adverse findings of the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) from issues regarding the state of maritime higher education in the country.

Based on the EMSA Outlook for 2020, the Philippines leads non-EU countries with the most seafarer officers working in EU-flagged vessels, with a total of 30,615. It’s possible for the Filipino seafarers to lose their jobs if recognition of Philippine-issued STCW certificates are removed.

“Our seafarers greatly contribute to our economy, especially during the pandemic. Let’s save this sector from drowning. Let’s keep our Filipino seafarers world class by following international standards,” Villanueva said.

According to data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, OFW cash remittances from all sea-based OFWs in the year 2021 totaled $6.545 billion or approximately Php335.42 billion.

The European Union gave MARINA a March 10, 2022 deadline to respond to the reported deficiencies especially in the use of simulators and on-board training when EMSA conducted their audit in the Philippines.

MARINA’S response will be the basis for the European Commission’s judgement on whether to continue recognizing the certificates of competence of Filipino seafarers working on European-flagged vessels.

“If we cannot comply or if we receive a negative assessment, MARINA should answer to the thousands of our seafarers who are at risk of losing their jobs. We hope it does not come to that scenario,” Villanueva said.

The EMSA first audited the Philippines in 2006, and it was found that there are maritime training institutions in the country that were non-compliant to the STCW.

The same audit findings were reflected in EMSA assessments in 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2017. The latest audit for this year will be the final decision before the EU recognition is removed due to the country’s non-compliance with the STCW.

“The EMSA audit findings required a response in terms of corrective actions. Did MARINA execute the corrective actions to the satisfaction of the requirements of the STCW?,” Villanueva said.

“The STCW is very clear on the competencies required of the graduates, certified seafarers, and the quality assurance system to which the programs were certified. Does the Philippine internal audit of STCW compliance show that we will be able to submit a satisfactory response to the latest EMSA audit and the continuing recognition of the Philippine Certificates for the various STCW levels?,” he added.

The senator is also pushing for a proposed Magna Carta for Filipino Seafarers or Senate Bill No. 2369, where both the MARINA and the Commission on Higher Education will work together to ensure compliance of the country’s maritime education, training, and certification to the STCW, and for DOLE to ensure the protection of the welfare of Filipino seafarers.

The proposed measure is currently on second reading in the Senate, and Villanueva as sponsor aims to continue deliberating it on the plenary once sessions resume in May.

Meanwhile, the senator also called on the Department of Foreign affairs to continue looking out for the safety of Filipino seafarers whose vessels were caught in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

“While the safety of our Filipino seafarers are endangered because of the conflict in Ukraine, their livelihood is also endangered with the removal of their accreditation from the EU. Let’s fight for their lives and livelihood!”, Villanueva said.

“Tumbasan natin ang “kayod-marino” ng ating Filipino seafarers sa pagsuporta sa kanila mula training at hanggang retirement. Let’s protect them before they board their ships, while at sea, and when they return to shore,” the senator added.


Trabaho ng mahigit 30,000 na Pinoy seafarers, nanganganib “malunod” – TESDAMAN

Babala ni Sen. Joel TESDAMAN Villanueva na nanganganib matanggalan ng recognition mula sa European Union (EU) ang mga Pilipinong seafarer kung ang sistema ng edukasyon, training, at sertipikasyon ng mga marino sa bansa ay hindi alinsunod sa pamantayan ng International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW).

Nanawagan si Villanueva sa pamunuan ng Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) sa bantang “pagkalunod” ng sektor ng Pilipinong seafarer dahil sa audit findings ng European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), kasama na ang isyu tungkol sa estado ng maritime higher education sa bansa.

Base sa EMSA Outlook for 2020, nangunguna ang Pilipinas na non-EU na bansa na may pinakamaraming seafarer officers sa mga barkong Europeo, na may bilang na 30,615. Maaaring mawalan ng trabaho ang mga seafarer na ito kung matanggal ang pagkilala sa Philippine-issued STCW certificates.

“Malaki ang naging ambag ng ating mga seafarer sa ekonomiya ng bansa, lalo na nitong pandemya. Huwag nating pabayaang malunod ang sektor na ito. Panatilihin po nating world class ang Pilipinong seafarer sa pagsunod natin sa international standards,” sabi ni Villanueva.

Ayon sa datos ng Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, ang OFW cash remittances ng lahat ng sea-based OFWs sa taong 2021 ay $6.545 billion o humigit-kumulang Php335.42 billion.

Binigyan ng European Union ang MARINA ng March 10, 2022 na deadline para tugunan ang nakitang mga deficiencies lalo na sa paggamit ng mga simulators at on-board training nang magsagawa ng assessment o audit ang EMSA dito sa Pilipinas.

Sa gagawing tugon ng MARINA nakadepende ang magiging hatol ng European Commission kung kikilalanin pa rin ang mga certificate of competence ng mga Pilipinong seafarer na naglalayag sa mga European-flagged vessels.

“Kapag hindi po tayo maka-comply o magkaroon ng “negative assessment”, mananagot po ang MARINA sa libo-libo nating seafarer na nanganganib mawalan ng trabaho. Sana huwag na po umabot pa doon,” sabi ni Villanueva.

Unang na-audit ng EMSA ang Pilipinas noong 2006, kung saan natagpuang may mga non-compliant sa International Convention on STCW na maritime training institution sa bansa.

Ilang beses na rin na-audit ng EMSA ang Pilipinas sa mga taong 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, at 2017. Ang pinakahuling audit ngayong taon ang magiging pinal na desisyon bago tanggalan recognition ng EU kung matagpuang non-compliant pa rin ang bansa sa STCW.

“The EMSA audit findings required a response in terms of corrective actions. Did MARINA execute the corrective actions to the satisfaction of the requirements of the STCW?,” sabi ni Villanueva.

“The STCW is very clear on the competencies required of the graduates, certified seafarers, and the quality assurance system to which the programs were certified. Does the Philippine internal audit of STCW compliance show that we will be able to submit a satisfactory response to the latest EMSA audit and the continuing recognition of the Philippine Certificates for the various STCW levels?” dagdag niya.

Isinusulong rin ni Villanueva ang Senate Bill No. 2369 o ang Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers, na kung saan ay magtutulong ang MARINA at ang Commission on Higher Education (CHED) para siguruhing compliant sa STCW ang maritime education, training, at sertipikasyon sa bansa, at ang DOLE ay sisiguro sa proteksyon ng kapakanan ng mga marino bilang manggagawa. Kasalukuyang nasa second reading ng Senado ang naturang panukalang batas, at layon ni Villanueva bilang sponsor na ituloy ang pagdinig nito sa plenaryo sa pagpapatuloy ng sesyon sa Mayo.

Samantala, nanawagan din si Villanueva sa Department of Foreign Affairs para sa patuloy na pagtutok sa mga Pilipinong seafarer na sakay sa mga barkong damay sa alitan sa pagitan ng Russia at Ukraine.

“Habang nanganganib ang buhay ng ating seafarers dahil sa kaguluhan sa Ukraine, nanganganib din silang mawalan ng accreditation mula sa EU. Ipaglaban natin ang kanilang buhay at kabuhayan!” sabi ni Villanueva.

“Tumbasan natin ang “kayod-marino” ng ating Filipino seafarers sa pagsuporta sa kanila mula training at hanggang retirement. Protektahan natin ang kanilang trabaho bago umakyat ng barko, habang naglalayag, at pagbalik nila sa laot,” dagdag ng senador.

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