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Saturday, April 13, 2024

PBBM inks 2 laws, keeps seafarers bill for review

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President Marcos signed two new laws on Monday focusing on the welfare of Filipino elders and boosting local products.

In a ceremony held at the Palace, President Marcos signed Republic Act (RA) 11981 or the Tatak Pinoy (Proudly Filipino) Act, and RA 11982, granting benefits to senior citizens in their 80s and 90s.

But he delayed signing the Magna Carta for Seafarers law at the last minute, as Presidential Communications Office Secretary Cheloy Garafil said the bill would be “under further review.”

The Magna Carta will define the rights and guarantee the well-being of Filipino seafarers, encompassing the reintegration program, complaint mechanism, and social welfare perks.

In signing the two other laws, the President said: “Each of these laws encapsulates the merits that the Bagong Pilipinas upholds toward building a strong nation… [T]he Tatak Pinoy Act is about investing in Filipino competence and talent. That genius and gift must be supported, not by exhortation alone but by true, tangible support.”

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“It is about creating products and services of the highest quality, because Tatak Pinoy is also about excellence, and as a seal of great workmanship, it must only be applied to those that meet this high standard. As such, we shall give preference and priority to our products,” Mr. Marcos added.

The Tatak Pinoy Act aims to pave the way for a stronger Philippine economy by encouraging, supporting, and promoting the creation and sale of high-quality, diverse, and sophisticated local goods and services.

Senator Sonny Angara, the bill’s sponsor, emphasized that “Tatak Pinoy” aligns with the administration’s goal of achieving structural transformation as well as the Philippine Export Development Plan 2023-2028, which focuses on enhancing the global competitiveness of locally-made goods and expanding exports.

On the other hand, RA 11982 provides the country’s senior citizens, regardless of their residency status, a cash gift of P10,000 upon reaching the age of 80 and every five years, thereafter, until they turn 95.

“We do, after all, stand on the shoulders of these giants,” President Marcos said.

“But they deserve more than cash in an envelope. What they should get is a support infrastructure that every society owes to its greying population,” he added.

According to the President, the expansion aims to recognize the significant contributions of senior citizens and provide them with additional financial support during their golden years.

In September 2023, President Marcos urgently certified the proposed bill to assist the Philippines in meeting its obligations to seafarers and ensuring that Filipino seafarers’ training, facilities, and equipment align with international standards and relevant conventions.

The proposed bill came after the European Commission told the Philippines about its proposed ban on Filipino seafarers over training deficiencies.

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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