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Hontiveros hails removal of execution bond from Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers

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Senator Risa Hontiveros hailed on Thursday the deletion of the controversial provision that would have mandated the payment of the execution bond as a victory for seafarers, especially those whose finances are strained due to medical costs.

“Thanks to my colleagues in the bicameral conference committee and they listened to our explanation against this unfair and unconstitutional provision,” Hontiveros said, partly in Tagalog, in a news release dated May 23.

“Although we went through something complicated, finally, our struggle resulted in victory for our seafarers,” she added.

The Senate Deputy Minority Leader noted that had the provision remained, it would have required seafarers to pay a bond before monetary benefits arising from their disability are given to them.

“This provision makes no sense. The reason a seafarer is asking for those benefits is because he has nothing to spend anymore. Already deep in medical expenses and about to drown in bond? I don’t think that’s right,” Hontiveros said.

With the bill finally moving forward, Hontiveros said the Filipino seafarers will be given greater protection from abuses and violations of their rights and welfare.

“This law is for every seafarer regarded as modern heroes because of their contributions to our country and, of course, to their families,” the senator said.

The Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers—filed under Senate Bill No. 2221 and House Bill No. 7325—seeks to protect the rights and overall welfare of Filipino seafarers, promote their full employment, and ensure equal opportunities in the maritime industry.

The Senate ratified the bill on Wednesday through a bicameral conference committee report, which Hontiveros signed along with Senators Raffy Tulfo, Joel Villanueva, Imee Marcos, Francis Escudero, and Aquilino Pimentel III for the Upper Chamber.

Conferees on the part of the House of Representatives include Reps. Jude Acidre, Sandro Gonzalez, Marlyn Primicias-Agabas, Khymer Adan Olaso, and Marissa ‘Del Mar’ Magsino.

President Marcos was supposed to sign the proposed Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers last February 26, but had to reschedule it at the last minute because the bill was placed “under further review.”

The President certified the bill as urgent in September 2023. It was meant to help the Philippines in meeting its obligations to seafarers and ensuring that their training, facilities, and equipment align with international standards and relevant conventions.

Filipino seafarers are the cornerstone of the international maritime industry. In 2022, over 489,000 Filipino sailors were working on ships globally.

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