Senator Christopher “Bong” Go

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go delivered a co-sponsorship speech on the proposed Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers Act during the Senate plenary session on Monday, May 22. The bill was sponsored by Sen. Raffy Tulfo, chair of the Senate Committee on Migrant Workers.
In his speech, Go, as one of the authors of the bill, emphasized the importance of passing the legislation to safeguard the rights and welfare of Filipino seafarers, who he referred to as the “unsung heroes” of the maritime industry.

“Ang ating mga seafarers ang isa sa pinakamalaking numero na bumubuo sa industriya ng mga marino. Of the 1.5 million seafarers worldwide, 25% are Filipino sea-based workers, making them the single biggest nationality bloc in the maritime industry,” cited Go.
“Nararapat lamang po na pangalagaan natin ang ating mga Pilipinong manggagawa na handang magsakripisyo para sa kanilang pamilya,” he added.

One of the key concerns raised by Go was the long working hours and limited rest periods experienced by seafarers.

To address this issue, the proposed Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers Act includes clear guidelines on maximum working hours and adequate rest periods.

“With this, we can address the issue of fatigue and enhance the safety and well-being of our seafarers,” he said.

Additionally, the proposed legislation recognizes the importance of seafarers’ medical care and access to healthcare services, including mental health support.

“As the chairperson of the committee on health, importante sa akin na mabigyan ng maayos na health services ang ating mga marino, sa gitna ng paglalayag at pati na rin sa kanilang pagdaong sa mga pier,” Go remarked.

The Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers Act also places emphasis on training and skills development. The bill promotes quality training programs that enable seafarers to acquire essential expertise and skills, thereby enhancing their competence and effectiveness in their profession.

This provision, according to Go, not only benefits individual seafarers but also raises the global competence of the country’s maritime workforce.

Go then emphasized that Filipino seafarers have long been in need of comprehensive protection and support.

“It is high time that we pass this bill to establish a framework that guarantees their rights, improves their working conditions, and upholds their dignity,” said Go.

Go said that the passage of the measure will be a testament to the unwavering commitment of the Senate in pursuing the interests and welfare of Filipino seafarers, similar to the establishment of the Department of Migrant Workers in the previous Congress.

Finally, Go hopes that the passage of the Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers Act would send “a strong and substantial message to the men and women of the maritime industry – a message of gratitude, appreciation, and firm validation of their contribution in this country.”
“Let us stand together united in guaranteeing that our seafarers are protected, their sacrifices are recognized, and that their rights are upheld,” concluded Go. (PR)