DMW calls for diverted trips away from Red Sea, other high-risk areas

<p>Galaxy Leader with 17 Filipino sailors attacked by the Houthi rebels in the Red Sea in November 2023 <em>(Anadolu)</em></p>

Galaxy Leader with 17 Filipino sailors attacked by the Houthi rebels in the Red Sea in November 2023 (Anadolu)

MANILA The Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) has recommended to the International Bargaining Forum (IBF) the declaration of areas targeted by pirates as war-like zones.

Kapag tayo ay napa-unlakan ng International Bargaining Forum, magpapasalamat tayo. Ang ibig sabihin nito ay the ships, hindi natin mapipigil maglayag iyong mga ships 'no (If the International Bargaining Forum will allow it, we’d be thankful. It means we can’t prevent the ships from sailing) but we are strongly urging them to divert their voyages away from the Red Sea at (and) Gulf of Aden,” DMW Secretary Hans Leo Cacdac said at the Saturday News Forum in Quezon City.

At sa pagkakaalam natin, karamihan na ng mga barko ay mayroon ng diversion na nangyayari kaya nga mayroon na rin ulat ng epekto nito sa komersiyo (As far as we know, most ships have been diverting routes so there is already an effect on commerce),” he added.

The IBF brings together the International Transport Workers' Federation and the international maritime employers that make up the joint negotiating group.

At the same time, Cacdac said seafarers may opt not to cross the seas by signing the “right to refuse sailing.”

Cacdac said forms are downloadable, may be accomplished by handwriting and submitted with screenshots via email.

DMW data showed 25 have refused and they are protected against discrimination and blacklisting.

According to rules, they can be reassigned or repatriated with two-months salary and free transportation expenses, Cacdac said.

Filipinos in SG Air flight, Taiwan

Cacdac also acknowledged the assistance of Singapore Airlines to the five Filipinos who were among those injured when their flight experienced severe turbulence on May 21.

He assured the Philippine government is ready to provide assistance to the injured Filipinos.

The same holds true for Filipinos in Taiwan amid renewed tensions with China, which has reportedly launched major military drills around the island-nation. 

“Yes, we have ongoing communications, first and foremost with Chair Silvestre Bello Ill of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office and with our Filipino communities and our labor representative in Taiwan,” he said. (Ferdinand G. Patinio/PNA)