Philippine leader cheers EC move as job losses for 50,000 seafarers averted

MANILA, April 2 (Reuters): Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr on Sunday welcomed the European Commission's (EC) decision to continue recognising certificates issued by his country for Filipino seafarers, saying it averted job losses for roughly 50,000 sailors.

The EC had warned in 2021 it would withdraw its recognition of Filipino seafarers' certificates unless serious measures were taken, including compliance with the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for seafarers.

The Southeast Asian country, among the world's biggest suppliers of maritime labour, has since made serious efforts to comply with the requirements, particularly in key areas like the monitoring, supervision and evaluation of training and assessment, the EC announced on Friday.

Marcos had met with EC President Ursula von der Leyen in December, when he attended the Asean-EU summit in Brussels, to discuss the 15-year-old issue involving Filipino seafarers.

In a statement, he said his administration will do everything to address all other issues faced by the local maritime industry so that the Philippines can produce more world-class seafarers.

The EC said it intends to provide the Philippines with technical assistance to further improve its education, training and certification system for seafarers.

The seafarers are among millions of overseas Filipinos sending home more than US$2.5 billion of their earnings each month, boosting consumer spending that drives growth of the domestic economy.- Reuters

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