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Saturday, February 13, 2010

DOLE sets interventions vs. proposed Somalia deployment ban

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said it is not necessary to
ban the deployment of Filipino seafarers to foreign flagged ships because
interventions are now taking place to address the adverse effects of
piracy-related incidents perilous to them and to the operations of global

Labor and Employment Secretary Marianito D. Roque said the issues that
brought about the total ban that was recommended to President
Macapagal-Arroyo is being addressed through the implementation of a joint
communiqué or agreement forged between the DOLE and seafarers groups,
manning and shipping sectors and the International Labour Organization and
International Maritime Organization.

Roque said the stakeholders signed the communiqué during the Anti-Piracy
Summit for Filipino Seafarers held last January 8, 2010 at the Amosup Seamen's
Center in Intramuros, Manila.

"We do not recommend the banning of our Filipino seafarers from working in
foreign vessels that ply pirate-infested waters in Somalia as interventions
on how to deal with the piracy problem have been identified during the
anti-piracy summit," said Roque noting that the proposed ban would result in
Filipino seafarers losing their jobs that surely will affect their families
and the Philippine seafaring industry and the economy as well.

Earlier, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) recommended to the
President the total ban on the deployment of Filipino seafarers to foreign
flagships that ply pirate-infested waters in Somalia.

As provided for by the joint communiqué, three measures are now being
implemented for the protection of the Filipino seafarers against sea piracy.
The measures cover the formulation of anti-piracy regulations, and the
conduct of anti-piracy training and psycho-social counseling for seafarers.

Roque said that more than 200 agencies out of 350 manning firms have already
submitted their anti-piracy training modules to the Philippine Overseas
Employment Administration (POEA). The final approval of the said modules
will be based on the standard training module which the POEA is preparing in
coordination with the Maritime Training Center (MTC).

Based on the POEA Memorandum Circular No. 02, Series of 2010, "all manning
agencies must require seafarers to undergo training on practical measures to
avoid, deter or delay piracy/ attacks prior to deployment." The anti-piracy
training is separate and in addition to the regular Pre-Departure
Orientation Seminar (PDOS) conducted for departing seafarers. In addition,
manning agencies will have to submit to POEA a list of all the trainees each
month indicating the name, date of training and name of company.

Aside from the anti-piracy training, the POEA has also approved a resolution
allowing the deployment of Filipino seafarers on board vessels transiting in
pirate-infested areas provided that the ship owners, principals, managers or
manning agencies will ensure that the vessel will pass within the maritime
security patrol area.

The ship owner and manning agencies will also submit appropriate security
measures such as security escorts or joining convoy to all ships passing
through known pirate-infested areas.

Meanwhile, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) is providing
psycho-social counseling and other support services for families and their
kin who could become victims of piracy.

OFW Journalism Consortium

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