The Philippines played major on the first move for the proper and effective implementation of the Guidelines on the Fair Treatment of Seafarers as agreed by Intl Maritime Organization (IMO) and Intl Labor Organization (ILO).

The First Regional Meeting was organised by Seafarers’ Rights Intl (SRI) and the Phil labor dept (DOLE) with active private sector participation.

Spearheading proposals is VAdm Eduardo Ma. R. Santos, AFP (Ret) president of  Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific (MAAP), EVP of the Associated Marine Officers’ and Seamen’s Union of the Phils (AMOSUP).

Santos’ offer is a strategy to intensify awareness, focused on the cadets, then on aspiring and active seafarers. MAAP volunteered to create a two-hour module on the guidelines, structured training of 10-minute audio-visual presentations.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III hopes,“(W)e can make the guidelines on fair treatment of seafarers as enshrined in the Manila Declaration on the Protection of Seafarers a success.”

SRI Executive Director Deirdre Fitzpatrick believes the announcement of the Manila Statement “… is a crucial step in the fight to raise awareness over the fair treatment of seafarers.”

Intl Transport Workers Federation Sec-Gen Stephen Cotton assures ITF, “…is totally committed to working with the people here today to ensure that this statement is a success.”

ILO Director Khalid Hassan adds, “It needs to be now followed with proper monitoring system to establish a recording system… ”

Senior officials from 50 nations attended (like Asian Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, India, Brunei and Indonesia), with major maritime stakeholders and allied business and professions.