Labor regulations protect workers in commercial fishing

Date Posted: September 15th, 2017 01:32 PM

SAN FERNANDO, La Union -- Randy Buscas of Casantaan, Sto. Tomas town has been scouring the seas for more than half of his life to earn a living for his family.

 

Without an assurance of steady income and social protection benefits, he risks his life every time he sets sail to the ruthless deep waters.

 

“Paglusong namin sa dagat, parang nasa hukay na ang isang paa namin. Pero kailangang kumita,” quips Randy.

 

In response to the plight of Randy and other fishermen engaged in commercial fishing, the Department of Labor and Employment has issued Department Order No. 156-16, or the Rules and Regulations Governing the Working and Living Conditions of Fishers on Board Fishing Vessels Engaged in Commercial Fishing Operations.

 

The order sets employment standards, such as minimum wage, holiday and premium pay, additional premium pay, overtime pay, night shift differential pay, paid service incentive leave, and 13th-month pay.

 

In an orientation cum consultation held recently by the DOLE-Regional Office I, Randy and 50 vessel owners and workers from La Union, Dagupan City, and Ilocos Sur were made aware of the protection and benefits that workers like them should enjoy.

 

“Fishermen working in commercial fishing vessels should be afforded their statutory rights just like other workers,” DOLE Regional Director Nathaniel Lacambra said.

 

He said fishermen working in commercial fishing vessels and their families can have more decent lives because they can be safer and have more secure working conditions, and enjoy employment rights and other social benefits.

 

The engagement of Filipino fishers must be covered by an employment agreement, he added.

 

D.O. 156-16 applies to fishing vessel owners, fishers, and captains or masters on board Philippine-registered fishing vessels engaged in commercial fishing operation in Philippine or international waters.

 

“You may also avail of DOLE’s livelihood program so you can have an alternative source of income during times when weather conditions prevent you from setting out to the sea,” Lacambra said.

 

He said marginalized workers such as fishermen are among the eligible beneficiaries of the DOLE Integrated Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program or DILEEP.

 

At the same forum, representatives of agencies like the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board, Employees Compensation Commission, Social Security System and Maritime Industry Authority were also present to discuss their programs and services.

 

END/Arly Sta. Ana-Valdez

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