| 6 December 2023, Wednesday |

Philippine leader cheers EC move as job losses for 50,000 seafarers averted

The decision by the European Commission (EC) to continue recognizing certifications issued by the Philippines for Filipino seafarers was applauded on Sunday by Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. He said that the move saved the jobs of about 50,000 sailors.

In 2021, the EC issued a warning that if serious action was not done, such as adherence to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, it would stop recognizing Filipino seafarers’ certifications.

The Southeast Asian country, among the world’s biggest suppliers of maritime labour, has since made serious efforts to comply with the requirements, particularly in key areas like the monitoring, supervision and evaluation of training and assessment, the EC announced on Friday.

Marcos had met with EC President Ursula von der Leyen in December, when he attended the ASEAN-EU summit in Brussels, to discuss the 15-year-old issue involving Filipino seafarers.

In a statement, he said his administration will do everything to address all other issues faced by the local maritime industry so that the Philippines can produce more world-class seafarers.

The EC said it intends to provide the Philippines with technical assistance to further improve its education, training and certification system for seafarers.

The seafarers are among millions of overseas Filipinos sending home more than $2.5 billion of their earnings each month, boosting consumer spending that drives growth of the domestic economy.

  • Reuters