May 17, 2023

Statement on Magna Carta for Filipino Seafarers Escrow Provision by Rep. Salo.

Rep. Ron Salo
May 16, 2023
I would respectfully like to dispel the misconception and the misinformation that the escrow provision will burden seafarers and their families. The escrow provision is included in the Magna Carta precisely to protect seafarers and their families. As the provision is crafted, all salaries, benefits, and other entitlements legally due to the seafarer will be IMMEDIATELY RELEASED to the seafarers upon determination by the labor arbiter or the NLRC. What is to be placed in the escrow are ONLY those CONTESTED AMOUNTS or DISCRETIONARY AWARDS such as awards of moral or exemplary damages. This provision is designed to protect the seafarers from becoming prey to ambulance chasers who take advantage of their unfortunate situation and jack up the amounts being sought with the intention of profiting from the amount awarded to the seafarers. Consequently, when the manning agency or employers appeal such an award by the NLRC and is eventually reversed, only the seafarers are left to shoulder the amount being sought by the court to be returned. Thus, the hapless seafarers are forced to mortgage their homes or loan huge amounts in order to return the usurious awards. This is precisely the situation we are seeking to address. I am cautioning individuals and groups misquoting Sec. 51 or the escrow provision and deliberately misinforming our seafarers about its intent and application. Perhaps these are the same ambulance chasing persons or groups benefiting from, and taking advantage of, the unfortunate situation of our seafarers.