Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Indefinite suspension of licenses to operate manning agencies pending litigation of a case is endangering  the maritime industry to the detriment of the Philippine economy!

This is what happened to the 300 seafarers of Gyron Crew Incorporation and Manning Agency (GCIMA). A complaint was filed by three former recruits of GCIMA leading to the suspension of its license to operate. Consequently, the contract of 300 seafarers due to be deployed to Netherlands were put on hold, many of whom were about to leave the country. Meanwhile, the case remains pending for more than sixty (60) days, while it was reported that a new law was passed in Holland allegedly banning Filipino seafarers. 

Despite previous withdrawal of the complaint by two of the complainants, while the other one already left the country, the case still remains pending litigation for more than two months, alleged Bosun Jeric Bilbao, representing the seafarers. Atty. Jesus Gabriel "Jeriel" Domingo, OIC, Adjudication Office, POEA, replied: “our hands are tied by the law . . . we must observe the requirement of due process”, when confronted by the seafarers, during the Balitaan sa Aloha media forum on October 10, 2012. However, the case has not yet been resolved to date. On the other hand, millions of pesos due to the seafarers and the government were already lost. This is a dangerous precedent! 

What happens if there are unscrupulous agencies instigating disgruntled crews of its competitor to initiate unfounded complaints and works in cahoots with the investigating and/or regulatory body in order to destroy the business operation of the latter?  This is tantamount to economic sabotage! 

Consequently, there is a need to amend whatever law or rules there is being cited by Atty. Domingo that ties the hands of the regulators to act swiftly on the case. Otherwise, this shall destroy the maritime industry which operations shall be left at the mercy of the regulators because of the existence of a law being alluded to by Atty. Domingo that hinders their action over the case.

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