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Group warns of P200K-per-term tuition due to Magna Carta for Seafarers provisions

The Philippine Association of Maritime Institutions (PAMI) on Friday opposed education and training provisions in the consolidated bill on the Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers (MCFS), which is now awaiting the signature of President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.

In a press conference, PAMI, which is composed of 73 schools, said the provisions under Chapter XVIII on Shipboard Training of Cadets may lead to higher tuition, closure of manning agencies, and reduction of crew members.

For PAMI, the Magna Carta for Filipino Seafarers should not cover students but only professional seafarers. It also lamented the demanding requirements for schools such as training ships.

“Our students are sons and daughters of farmers, construction workers, tricycle drivers, tindero po sa palengke. To put this as a requirement, wala po kaming pagkukunan, kundi itaas ang tuition fee,” PAMI president Sabino Czar Manglicmot II said.

(Our students are sons and daughters of farmers, construction workers, tricycle drivers, and market vendors. To put this as a requirement, we have no resources but to increase the tuition fee.)

From P25,000 per term, the tuition may increase to P200,000, according to Manglicmot.

Association of Technical Schools in Manila president Glenn Mark Blasquez said the other possible effect of these provisions is the closure of manning agencies.

“Ang pangalawa na option is to close the program. Kung mag-close ang program, magkakaroon tayo ng domino effect,” he said.

(The second option is to close the program. If the program is closed, we will have a domino effect.)

“Ang effects po niyan it's either iyong mga manning agencies, magsarado at humanap ng ibang countries na pagkukunan ng supply ng mga seafarer. Mga clinics at training centers ay magsasarado,” he added.

(The effects are either manning agencies will close or they will look for other countries for the supply of seafarers. The clinic and training centers will close.)

For PAMI, Chapter XVIII of MCFS should be removed.

GMA News Online has reached out Senator Raffy Tulfo, who is the principal sponsor of the concerned bills, for his comment, but he has yet to give one as of posting time.

The Senate and House of Representatives ratified in December last year the bicameral conference committee version of the Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers. 

To recall, the European Union previously warned that Filipino maritime workers may be banned from its vessels following the Philippines’ repeated failures to hurdle the European Maritime Safety Agency's (EMSA) evaluation for the past 16 years.

In March 2022, however, the regional bloc announced it would continue to recognize Philippine-issued certificates for seafarers, citing the country's "serious efforts to comply with the requirements, in particular in key areas like the monitoring, supervision and evaluation of training and assessment."

Following the ratification, the bill was transmitted to the Office of the President for Marcos' approval and signature. —KBK, GMA Integrated News