The Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) said Monday it plans to provide psycho-social counseling and support services to families of abducted seafarers in Somalia and the Gulf of Aden.
“The department also intends to give emergency financial assistance to the families as part of its measures to help the sailors and address the impact of piracy affecting mostly Filipino seafarers,’’ said Labor and Employment Secretary Marianito Roque.
“These are just among the measures that were discussed with the tripartite partners in the manning industry. The tripartite meeting will serve as a blueprint to protect seamen from the continuing hijacking incidents in Somalia area,’’ according to Roque..
“The piracy in Somalia has come to an alarming proportion affecting not only the Philippines, but other European countries and the United States as well. We hope for strict monitoring of compliance to the rules set by the POEA Governing Board Resolution No. 5 s. of 2009,’’ he added.
According to a POEA Board resolution, ship owners, managers and manning agencies hiring Filipino seafarers should ensure that vessels transiting through the Gulf of Aden “shall pass only within the Maritime Security patrol area;’’ submit an appropriate security plan to all ships passing through the area; and provide training to their crew on how to avoid, react and cope with piracy and other related incidents.
Manning agencies are also required to immediately report to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the DoLE any incidents of piracy involving their ships and share their experiences in handling these incidents.
Roque said he already instructed the Philippine Overseas Employment Authority (POEA) and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to spearhead this effort to put in safety nets to protect the country’s sailors.
“While some have measures in place, we want to set stronger safety nets for our seamen,” he said.
The Philippines is the largest supplier of seafarers in the global labor industry
By SHIANEE MAMANGLU
December 14, 2009, 7:00pm