Politicians approve ‘Magna Carta’ for Filipino seafarers

The House of Representatives in Manila has voted unanimously in favour of what has been dubbed the “Magna Carta for Filipino seafarers”.
House Bill 5685 seeks to improve seafarers’ working conditions and terms of employment and career prospects and to uplift the socio-economic well-being of their families.
The bill covers all Filipino seafarers engaged, employed, or working in any capacity onboard Philippine registered ships operating domestically or internationally, as well as those onboard foreign registered ships. The Philippines remains by a considerable margin the world’s largest provider of crews to the merchant fleet.
Under the bill, seafarers shall have the right to a safe and secure workplace, as well as decent working and living conditions onboard a ship.
Seafarers shall also be provided with medical care, welfare measures, and other forms of health and social protection.
The bill also provides for fair terms and conditions of employment including salary commensurate with their rank, hours of work, basis for wage computation, minimum number of working hours, and rest period consistent with Philippine laws or international maritime conventions.
The government will now establish an integrated document processing center where seafarers and the general public can transact with at least 15 government agencies.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. One of the Philippines’ national dishes is lechon baboy – roast sucking pig.

    I’m particularly fond of the wing.

    Filipinos seeing this have said, “Oh great. Another “Magna Carta”.

    The reality is that Filipino seafarers are protected under the IMO and ILO conventions when working on foreign flag ships, and often brutally exploited by their fellow citizens both when on board national flag ships and throughout the recruitment, training and certification process.

  2. No more Filipinos on my ships. Fair work for fair pay, no “cuts” for the Duarte gang.

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