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Sunday, March 13, 2011

DOLE seeks tripartite efforts to boost global demand for Filipino seafarers

To sustain the country's status as manning capital of the world, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) will push for tripartite efforts to immediately address various issues and difficulties confronting the Philippine maritime sector, especially in expanding the sea-based sector as source of overseas employment for Filipinos.

"The DOLE will vigorously support its partners in the Maritime Industry Tripartite Council (MITC) not only in addressing common problems in the maritime sector but also in their target of capturing at least 50 percent of the total global requirements for Filipino seafarers in the next six years," Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz said, adding "this is part of efforts to expand the sea-based OFW sector amidst the turmoil in the Middle East which has led to the repatriation of OFWs from Libya."

Baldoz initiated the establishment of the MITC early this year to provide the tripartite partners in the maritime sector a venue where common concerns can be addressed to ensure the country's capability to produce competent seafarers and port workers. Members include the Joint Manning Group (JMG), the umbrella organization of manning agencies.

JMG leaders, in a meeting with POEA Administrator Carlos Cao Jr., said the country's seafaring industry is aggressively targeting to increase global requirements for Filipino seafarers from 30 percent at present to 50 percent until 2016. To achieve this, the industry has invested heavily in putting up world class training modules and facilities for Filipino seafarers to enhance their competitiveness and employability in the international maritime industry.

Baldoz thanked the seafaring industry, saying that the DOLE, through the MITC, is prepared to support the industry's efforts in capturing a larger portion of the international market for seafarers.

Meanwhile, the Associated Marine Officers' and Seamen's Union of the Philippines (AMOSUP), the largest organization of seafarers in the Philippines and the whole world, has joined the DOLE in tripartite efforts for the advancement of the Philippine maritime sector.

Baldoz said the AMOSUP has declared full support to the MITC as means through which stakeholders can address problems in the maritime industry, particularly those affecting Filipino seafarers and port workers.  

Founded 50 years ago by the late Capt. Gregorio Oca, AMOSUP is internationally recognized leader of seafarers' organizations, being the largest union of marine officers and seamen in the world with around 90,000 members.

"The support of AMOSUP to the MITC is an affirmation of tripartism as an effective means of building consensus and collaboration of social partners in mutually beneficial activities that will drive the growth of the maritime industry and promote the welfare, employability, and competitiveness of Filipino seafarers and port workers," Baldoz said.

AMOSUP president Dr. Conrado F. Oca, son of Capt. Oca, who expressed the AMOSUP's appreciation to Baldoz for jumpstarting the establishment of the MITC, also underscored the importance of tripartism in achieving industrial peace, in protecting the rights and promoting the welfare of seafarers and port workers, and in pushing for the ratification of the Maritime Labor Convention (MLC) 2006. The latter provides for comprehensive rights and protection at work for the world's more than 1.2 million seafarers.

"The MITC will be venue for the tripartite partners to craft policies and regulations, including a national action plan for the ratification of the MLC 2006," Baldoz said. End/laa

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