The Filipino Association for Mariners’ Employment, Inc. (FAME) held its 1st General Membership Meeting for the year 2010 last 18 February 2010, Thursday at the Ballroom, Pan Pacific Hotel Manila.

The newly appointed Ambassador of the Embassy of the Republic of Panama, Honorable Ivan J. Crespo graciously attended the assembly as Guest of Honor. Hon. Ivan J. Crespo extended his deepest appreciation as he was invited and given the chance to introduce his self to the Association and to the Philippine Maritime Industry. He welcomed comments and suggestions from the Association in order to improve the services of the Embassy of Republic of Panama to the industry.

The meeting was attended by 72 member-companies out of 119 member-companies (regular and associate members). Apart from the usual Agenda of giving member-companies updates on the plans, program and activities of the Association; the FAME Officers and Board of Directors gave updates on current crucial issues concerning the Philippine Maritime Industry as follows:

I. Maritime Presidential Forum 2010 – Update

It was reported that the 28 January 2010: The Future of the Maritime Industry… A Presidential Series was successfully concluded and was attended by Senator Benigno Aquino II, Senator Richard Gordon and Councilor JC De Los Reyes.

In connection with this forum, it was also reported that a “Voters Education Seminar – An information drive campaign” will be conducted with the aim to ensure that the Maritime and Seafaring Industry will be familiarized with the new automated system of voting. That it is important for everyone to understand the proper procedures in voting so that our votes will not be invalidated as we grasped the new system

II. R.A. 8042 - MIGRANT WORKERS’ ACT

The President Mr. Ericson M. Marquez reported that the approved Senate Bill No. 3286 and House Bill No. 5649 or otherwise known as An Act Amending the R.A. 8042 or the Migrant Workers Act of 1995 has been transmitted to the office of H.E. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo last 05 February 2010 and further development is expected to be out by 08 March 2010. Below were some of the provisions which affect the seabased sector that the Joint Manning Group (JMG) has succeeded to include:

? Section 3. Section 4 of RA No. 8042 as amended is hereby amended to read as follows:

“SEC 4. Deployment of Migrant Workers -

The State shall allow the deployment of overseas Filipino workers only in the countries where the rights of Filipino migrant workers are protected. The government recognizes any of the following as a guarantee on the part of the receiving country for the protection of the rights of overseas Filipino workers:........

“The State shall also allow the deployment of overseas Filipino workers to vessels navigating the foreign seas or to installations located offshore or on high seas whose owners/employers are compliant with international laws and standards that protect the rights of migrant workers.

? Section 5. Section 6 of R.A. No. 8042, as amended, is hereby amended to read as follows:

“(n) To allow a non-Filipino citizen to head or manage a licensed recruitment / manning agency.

“In addition to the acts enumerated above, it shall also be unlawful for any person or entity to commit the following prohibited acts:

“4 – Impose a compulsory and exclusive arrangement whereby an OFW is required to undergo health examinations only from specifically designated medical clinics, institutions, entities or persons; except in the case of a seafarer whose medical examination cost is shouldered by the principal/shipowner”


Please note that the additional phrase from “EXCEPT IN THE CASE OF A SEAFARER ... to BY THE PRINCIPAL/SHIPOWNER” has been added which now allows the manning agent to continue appointing its own designated medical provider without any restriction.

“5 – Impose a compulsory and exclusive arrangement whereby an OFW is required to undergo training, seminar, instruction or schooling of any kind only from specifically designated institutions, entities or persons, except for recommendatory trainings mandated by principals/shipowners where the latter shoulder the cost of such trainings;

Please note that the additional phrase from “EXCEPT RECOMMENDATORY to COST OF SUCH TRAINING” has been added which now allows the manning agent to continue appointing its own designated training provider without any restriction.

“The persons criminally liable for the above offences are the principals, accomplices and accessories. In case of juridical persons, the officers having OWNERSHIP, control, management or direction of their business WHO ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE COMMISSION OF THE OFFENSE AND THE RESPONSIBLE EMPLOYEES/AGENTS THEREOF shall be liable”

? Sec. 23 A new Section 37-A of the Republic Act No. 8042, as amended, is hereby added to read as follows:

“SEC. 37-A. Compulsory Insurance Coverage for Agency-Hired Workers. – In addition to the performance bond to be filed by the recruitment/manning agency under Section 10, each migrant worker deployed by recruitment/ manning agency shall be covered by a compulsory insurance policy which shall be secured at no cost to the said worker. Such insurance policy shall be effective for the duration of the migrant worker’s employment contract shall and shall cover, at the minimum:

(a) Accidental death, with at least Fifteen thousand United States dollar (US$15,000.00) survivor’s benefit payable to the migrant worker’s beneficiaries;

(b) Natural death, with at least Ten thousand united States dollars (US$10,000.00) survivor’s benefit payable to the migrant worker’s beneficiaries;

(c) Permanent total disablement, with at least Seven Thousand Seven Thousand five hundred United States dollars (US$7,500.00) disability benefit payable to the migrant worker. The following disabilities shall be deemed permanent: total, complete loss of sight of both eyes; loss of two (2) limbs at or above the ankles or wrists; permanent complete paralysis of two (2) limbs; brain injury resulting to incurable imbecility or insanity; .........

“....... In the case of seafarers who are insured under the policies issued by foreign insurance companies, the POEA shall accept certificates or other proofs of cover from recruitment / manning agencies: provided, that the minimum coverage under sub-paragraphs (a) to (i) are included therein.

“Any claim arising from accidental death, natural death or disablement under this section shall be paid by the insurance company without any contest and without the necessity of proving fault or negligence of any kind on the part of the insured migrant worker: Provided, That the following documents, duly authenticated by the Philippine foreign posts, shall sufficient evidence to substantiate the claim:


III. FAME COURTESY MEETING WITH THE PHILIPPINE OVERSEAS EMPLOYMENT ADMINISTRATION (POEA)

The Government Committee headed by Ms. Josephine Francisco and Mr. Ericson Marquez met with POEA Administrator Jennifer J. Manalili last Monday, 15 February 2010 to discuss and clarify some industry concerns involving POEA as well as to follow-up on the status of the issues/programs which have been started discussing with POEA the previous years.

Below were the achieved clarifications from POEA on the following issues:

A. Republic Act 9679- Mandatory HDMF coverage for Seafarers and all OFWs

• POEA informed that the implementation of the said law is a pending negotiation between POEA and PAG-IBIG;
• That POEA will issue a clarificatory advisory on POEA’s position and plan of action regarding the new law;
• That POEA will conduct necessary consultation with the industry prior finalization of any implementing guidelines of the new directive.

B. PIRACY ISSUES

• That the Anti-Piracy training seminar will be taken by the seafarers only once;
• That submission of report by the manning agencies as required in POEA MC No. 02-2010 can be submitted /done via email to the POEA Processing Department at pso_poea@yahoo.com once a month;
• That the training seminar certificate issued for this purpose has no expiration as of the moment;
• That FAME / JMG members can be exempt from submitting the training module and they can just submit a letter to POEA indicating that they are member of FAME/JMG and is using the FAME/JMG training module which was duly recognized by POEA. Note: this is applicable for FAME/JMG members only.
• And for companies that do not have in-house training, anti-piracy training seminar can only be availed through training provided by other manning agencies with in-house training and whose module has been approved by POEA and not through commercial training centers.
• That POEA will also issue official clarificatory advisory on above matters.

C. Pending POEA Policies

• POEA SEC Review
• Proposed SEC for Cruise Ship Personnel
• Proposed SEC for Fishermen
• Review of POEA Rules and Regulations

It was clarified by POEA that the above matters are all pending subject to the new amendments on the RA 8042.

D. Proposal to remove the Seamen’s Registration Card (SRC) in lieu of the Seafarers’ Identity Document (SID) as per ILO Convention 108

POEA clarified that this matter is an on-going discussion amongst POEA, SSS and OWWA on the issue re: issuance of biometric ID.

E. Industry Access to POEA Database

A Technical Working Group composed of representatives from FAME and POEA Departments e.g. Seabased Center, ICT, Planning and Marketing will be formed to work on the POEA database for the maritime group.

F. Immersion program of POEA staff on Seaboard Employment Structure

FAME and POEA to continue the project this year. Program of Activities, schedules and official communication will be arranged accordingly.

Other matters discussed with the general membership included the Action Plans of the Maritime Education, Training and Assessment Committee headed by Capt. Victor S. Del Prado and update on the Public Hearing at Senate on the PSR No. 206. FAME’s support services, which included the FAME official tie and scarf, FAME as filing agent for Marshall Islands and Liberian documents and licenses and lastly as selling agent of POEA Contract (3-folds), POEA Contract Sheet and Appendix III, were also promoted to the general membership.

As a whole, the event was successful and imparted assurance to all members that the Association will never cease to improve and work hand in hand with the industry’s stakeholders and key players for the betterment of the Philippine Maritime Industry as it face the challenges of year 2010.