Tag Archives: DOTC

On Filipino Seafarers

Filipino seamen can get sick during the course of their work. They could acquire hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) from operating chipping machines, needle guns, and hand held grinders. They could develop cardiovascular diseases (CVD) from multitasking. They could suffer musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) from working nonstop, or they could have cancer from exposing themselves to beryllium, cadmium, lead, and other toxic substances.

Filipino seamen could also be infected with a sexually transmitted disease for unsafe sexual activities; pandemic and epidemic diseases for visiting ports currently plagued with malaria, cholera, yellow fever, and tuberculosis, among others; or hypertension for excessive stress, fatigue, loneliness, smoking, alcoholic consumption, and lack of physical activity.

The National Conciliation and Meditation Board (NCMB) could help Filipino seafarers be compensated, though. Former bosun Alexander Billones, for one, had figured in an accident when he was hired by the KGJS Fleet Management Manila, Inc. resulting in chronic degenerative disc. He was then repatriated amidst pain in his lower back, hips, and legs. He was just assisted by lawyer Christopher Rey Valmores and conciliator-mediator Gil Caragayan in claiming P3,206,250 for settlement.

Another case is Nestor Balbaboco Jr.’s. He was employed by the North Sea Marine Service Corporation but suffered a spinal injury while on board the M/V Albatross. He was awarded P2,215,720 through NCMB-NCR Chief Leo Ma. Delia Yu’s facilitation.

One more example is Joel Florande. He was sent by the Sea Power Shipping, Inc. to M/V Efstathios where he had a mild stroke. Valmores assisted him to receive P3,636,699 settlement from the Sea Power Shipping Enterprises.

Filipino seafarers are governed by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) Standard Employment Contract that intends to compensate a “work-related” illness, injury or death. Someone who died of cerebrovascular disease (stroke) 17 days after a contract’s end was not compensable. Another who had been on board for only one month cannot be benefited, too. Only a widower whose seafarer husband died due to colon cancer while on board could be entitled to the benefits that her deceased husband had signed.

“An Act Protecting Seafarers Against Ambulance Chasing and Imposition of Excessive Fees and Providing Penalties Therefor” was also enacted into law to prohibit a person from soliciting an amount in exchange of a legal service to seafarers. It is simply called the Seafarers Protection Act that lowers legal fees from 40%-50% to 10% only. Hopefully, these two regulations would be modified as necessary to protect those who make up more than one-third of all ship workers in the world.

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Harvey Cureg

Notes The global shipping industry, which carries 80 percent of international trade, employs about 1.2 million seafarers, the bulk of whom come from the Philippines. (Source: GMA News Online)

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“PWD-friendly” and “disabled persons”

Just how PWD-friendly the Philippines can get?

Not much, Amierielle Anne A. Bulan had said in an article. Her grandmother who had colon cancer and difficulty in walking had to be placed in a monobloc chair and carried by four men (whom her family paid P100 each) to attend to her medical check-up in a six-story building with no elevator in Quezon City. That is far, in Bulan’s opinion, from what the Department of Tourism is trying to convey in its latest campaign: that the Philippines is “destination-friendly.”

But it is trying. The Muntinlupa City has recently partnered with The Birthright Educators Foundation Inc. (TBEFI) and established—finally—a Persons with Disability Affairs Office (PDAO)1. Ten hotels were also recognized for being “barrier-free” and friendly to persons with disabilities (PWD) during the World Tourism Day2 and 15 business establishments were awarded by the Makati City Hall for promoting the rights and welfare of PWDs3.

The Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) has urged public buses to modernize4. The National Council for Disability Affairs (NCDA) has reiterated the importance of facilities like ramps, toilets, and handrails in all public places5.

In the Oxford Dictionary, there is no such term as “PWD-friendly” but “disabled-friendly,” an adjective “that caters to the needs of the disabled, as by offering wheelchair access or services for those with impaired vision or hearing.”6 Recognizing the term, though, could instill the necessary attitudes people must have towards PWDs: thoughtful, tolerant, and instinctive.

“We need to inspire the persons with disabilities to stand up for their rights, and this is one way of exercising that, recognize us as people and not for our impairments,” Leila Benaso

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Harthy Satina

1https://www.muntinlupacity.gov.ph/pwd-friendly-city/

2https://businessmirror.com.ph/19-hotels-recognized-for-being-pwd-friendly/

3http://www.manilatimes.net/15-makati-establishments-pwd-friendly/151967/

4http://news.abs-cbn.com/nation/metro-manila/02/18/16/look-phs-first-pwd-friendly-bus

5https://news.mb.com.ph/2018/02/09/audit-up-for-establishments-to-be-pwd-friendly/

6https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/disabled-friendly

7https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disabled