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Philippines ratification marks global milestone for decent work for seafarers

The Philippines is the 30th Member to have its ratification registered and join the group of the “first 30” ILO countries to demonstrate their commitment to ensuring decent work for seafarer and a level playing field for quality shipowners.

News | 20 August 2012

GENEVA (ILO News) – On 20 August 2012. Mr Dennis Y Lepatan, Chargé d’affaires, Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the United Nations Office and other International Organizations in Geneva representing the Government of the Republic of the Philippines deposited its instrument of ratification of the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 (MLC, 2006) with Mr Juan Somavia, Director-General of the International Labour Office. The registration of this ratification marks a global milestone. The Philippines is the 30th Member to have its ratification registered and join the group of the “first 30” ILO countries to demonstrate their commitment to ensuring decent work for seafarer and a level playing field for quality shipowners.

The Philippines is the largest source of the world’s seafarers, with nearly 700,000, nearly half of which work overseas. The Philippines is the largest source of the world’s seafaring workforce and the home of nearly one third – 30 per cent – of seafarers working on foreign flag ships. It also has a large domestic fleet, with nearly as many seafarers working on Philippines flagged ships.

Philippine Secretary of Labour and Employment, Ms Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz, in hailing the registration at the ILO of the Philippine instrument of ratification of the MLC, 2006 as the 30th ratifying country, stated:

“Filipino seafarers who make up 30 per cent of the seafarers on the global shipping fleet, with 343,587 of them deployed on foreign flagged ships in 2011 alone, will definitely benefit from the MLC, 2006 as of its entry into force. This is also true with our seafarers working on domestic ships.

"I am very pleased that the Philippines, as the 30th country to ratify the Convention, has triggered its entry into force. This heralds an era of quality shipping and strengthened protection of all seafarers.

"Our country’s ratification of the MLC, 2006 highlights over a decade of involvement of the Philippine government, through the DOLE, in global maritime affairs that contributed to the adoption of the Convention in 2006. With the Convention, our aim to achieve both decent work for seafarers and secure their economic interest in fair competition of quality ship owners is within reach. This, in itself, is a major contribution to global economic growth."

In receiving the instrument of ratification, Mr Somavia commented:

This is a tremendous step and I must offer my congratulations to the Philippines. I am aware that despite many challenges faced by the Philippines, including storms and floods in the last few weeks, the Senate of the Philippines continued to move forward to review and agree on legislation to allow ratification of this very important new international labour standard – a “seafarers’ bill of rights”. This ratification is important not only to the many Filipino seafarers who play such an essential role in the global maritime industry; it is also important to seafarers and shipowners in all countries. The Philippines ratification is the 30th to be registered by the ILO and with the ratification I registered earlier this week, it means that the MLC, 2006 will now enter into force 12 months from today and when it does it will apply to nearly 60 per cent of the world’s commercial fleet. This is indeed a major milestone and with it we mark the culmination of over six years of concerted activity in all regions – particularly in the Philippines, to reach this goal. With the registration of this ratification we are also marking the date that 12 months from now will be the beginning of the international MLC, 2006 regime.

The Philippines played an important leadership role in the five years of international meetings to develop and adopt the text of the MLC, 2006. Following a High-Level Tripartite Mission in 2006 the Philippines adopted a nation Action Plan to allow it to move forward. This was followed by extensive national dialogue with the social partners and numerous tripartite seminars so that all concerns be could be heard and addressed. This was combined with data collection, particularly with respect to the domestic fleet and conditions of employment, and a detailed legal review and analysis. As result of this extensive consultation process legislation was developed that would implement the MLC, 2006 to better protect all Filipino seafarers, including the many seafarers working overseas, and also ensure that seafarer recruitment and placement services based in the Philippines are regulated and operated in accordance with the MLC, 2006 requirements.

The MLC, 2006 will come into force 12 months after the registered ratifications of at least 30 Member States with a total share of at least 33 per cent of the world gross tonnage of ships. The gross tonnage element was achieved in 2009. The ratification by the Philippines will enable the Convention to come into effect as binding international law on 20 August 2013.

Tags: decent work, seafarer, working conditions, ILO conventions, international labour standards, sea transport, merchant marine

Regions and countries covered: Philippines

Unit responsible: International Labour Standards (NORMES)

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