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Job loss for 80,000 averted

Manila, Philippines – The House committee on appropriations has approved the budgetary provision of the measure seeking to avert the possible job loss of 80,000 Filipino seafarers working at European Union-registered ships.

The panel, headed by Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab, gave the go-ahead to the appropriations provisions of the substitute measure to House Bill 719 and House Resolution 347 , filed by ANGKLA Partylist Rep. Jesulito Manalo.

HB 719 tasks Maritime Industry Authority as the single and central maritime administration responsible for the enforcement of international agreements of covenants governing the country’s global maritime professionals.

The House committee decided to amend the substitute bill by deleting a provision mandating the hiring of specialist personnel since the law, specifically Executive Order 75, provides the necessary positions for the Standards of Training, Certification,and Watchkeeping services for seafarers.

During a committee hearing, Budget and Management Assistant Secretary Janet Abuel agreed with the Ungab panel to delete Section 4 of the substitute bill which calls for the hiring of specialist personnel.

Executive Order 75 mandates the Department of Budget and Management to evaluate and create the necessary positions for the SCTW services for seafarers within MARINA.

Abuel said so far, the DBM already approved the creation of 104 positions for such purpose.

Manalo pushed for the passage of HB 719, saying a single maritime regulatory agency is necessary “to streamline and impose uniform policies and standards for the protection of our maritime global professionals, and…to achieve an effective and efficient regulation of the human complement of the seaborne trade.”