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March 26, 2008

Govt, seamen agree on arbitration system

Philippine manning agencies, seamen and their government counterparts recently forged a memorandum of agreement (MOA) on labor arbitration system and on voluntary arbitration (VA) as an alternative in settling labor disputes in the maritime industry.

The Maritime Industry Labor Arbitration (MILA) is an initiative of former Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary and now Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Arturo Brion.

MILA provides for the development of a VA system in the maritime industry while ensuring the rights and welfare of Filipino seafarers and addressing the concerns of stakeholders.

Brion signed the MOA as a witness during ceremonies at the Associated Marine Officers and Seamen's Union (AMOSUP) office in Intramuros, Manila last March 18.

All the parties agreed to constitute MILA as a tripartite body consisting of Executive Director of the National Conciliation and Mediation Board as ex-officio Chair and one member each from the manning and seafarer sectors.

Council members will have a term of three years from the date of their designation. NCMB will serve as the council's secretariat in the interim.

Aside from promoting VA in the maritime industry, the council and the secretariat will also be tasked to formulate policies, programs, standards, qualifications, and manuals of procedures pertaining to MILA operations.

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