Government dealing with ambulance chasers preying on seafarers


MALACAÑANG said on Monday the government is now addressing the alleged prevalence of “ambulance chasers” who are preying on Filipino seafarers.

“The administration assures the public at large that the entire government system will be working to address and stop these horrific practices that erode the credibility and competence of the seafaring industry in the country,” the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) said in a brief statement.

The pronouncement was in response to the open letter issued by the United Filipino Seafarers (UFS) asking the government to stop unscrupulous lawyers who sweet-talk sick seafarers to file compensation claims.

The lawyers, who are supposedly in cahoots with some arbiters from the National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) and the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC), are able to secure “inflated disability claims” for their clients.

Earlier, BusinessMirror quoted several international shipowners airing this complaint.

UFS said the practice is discouraging international shipowners from hiring Filipino seafarers.

“The administration is very well aware of the plight and condition of our Filipino seafarers who are well-known for their competence and skills in the sector,” PCO said.

“The government is doing all it can to protect and look after the welfare of our seafarers and their families who ultimately bear the burden of these unscrupulous groups and individuals,” it added.

Maritime stakeholders have been lobbying for reforms to address ambulance chasers through the passage bill creating the Magna Carta for Filipino Seafarers.