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CJ Gesmundo Encourages OFWs to File Complaints Against Ambulance Chasers

Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo warned erring members of the Bar who exploit Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) that they have no place in the legal system and encouraged the filing of appropriate and verified complaints against these lawyers.

 

Gesmundo stressed that the Judiciary will not tolerate lawyers who prey on our OFWs through ambulance chasing during his meeting with Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) Secretary Maria Susan V. Ople and other DMW officials on Monday, November 7, 2022, at the Supreme Court.

 

"If you see that some of our OFWs and workers are being exploited by these ambulance chasing lawyers, you have the right to file a complaint with the Court or the Integrated Bar of the Philippines" (IBP). Then we'll be able to take action. However, we want to ensure that the complainants are prepared to provide evidence," Chief Justice Gesmundo assured the DMW.

 

The DMW officials provided a brief overview of Republic Act No. 11641, also known as An Act Creating the Department of Migrant Workers, Defining Its Powers and Functions, Rationalizing the Organization and Functions of Government Agencies Related to Overseas Employment and Labor Migration, Appropriating Funds Therefor, and Other Purposes. They also brought up issues that the DMW is dealing with regarding OFWs.

 

Ambulance chasing, according to DMW Assistant Secretary Jerome T. Pampolina, is a real and pressing issue, particularly in the maritime sector. It was proposed to step up efforts to instill discipline among lawyers not only against ambulance chasing, but also against other unethical behavior.

 

Chief Justice Gesmundo responded by saying that the Court has been imposing stricter disciplinary measures, such as suspending or disbarring lawyers who violate the Code of Professional Responsibility. In line with this, the Chief Justice emphasized the ongoing revisions to the Proposed Code of Professional Responsibility and Accountability, emphasizing the Court's desire for lawyers to be more accountable to all stakeholders. He acknowledged the DMW's concern about lawyers who exploit migrant workers and strongly encouraged the filing of complaints with the Supreme Court or the IBP against members of the Bar who engage in ambulance chasing.

 

The Chief Justice also stated that the Court is willing to collaborate with the DMW to reach out to OFWs and their families in order to ensure that they have access to justice, especially since this is consistent with the Supreme Court's Strategic Plan for Judicial Innovations 2022-2027, which outlines the Supreme Court's plans and programs for the next five years.


 

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On STCW Compliance: BBM’s MARCHING ORDER

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has reiterated its marching orders to ensure the country's compliance with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping (STCW) Convention for seafarers.

 

During his cabinet meeting on Tuesday, October 11, Marcos ordered the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) to address issues concerning maritime schools, especially those that do not comply with educational quality standards.

 

At a press briefing, Undersecretary and Office of the Press Secretary officer-in-charge (OIC) Cheloy Velicaria-Garafil said, "The President wants to upgrade the competencies of maritime schools in the country and to fix training programs to give the students an advantage and put them to international standards in order to maintain the country’s rank as the top supplier of seafarers in the world."

 

The cabinet meeting was attended by MARINA Administrator Atty. Hernani Fabia, OIC-Deputy Administrator for Planning Ms. Sonia B. Malaluan, OIC-STCW Office Executive Director Mr. Samuel L. Batalla, and Planning and Policy Service (PPS) Director Mr. Luisito U. delos Santos.

 

The President also expressed support for the agency’s 10-Year Maritime Industry Development Plan (MIDP).

 

Prior to this, Migrant Workers Secretary Susan "Toots" Ople, in a meeting with the stakeholders on September 29, relayed the President’s marching order to address the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and IMO Member State Audit Scheme (IMSAS) audits.

 

"Please be aware that this has been the subject of no less than a cabinet meeting. It was an extensive, comprehensive discussion... Please be assured that this is very high on the cabinet’s agenda and on the president’s radar stream.

 

The president’s directive was not just to abide by the findings, not just to comply, but to address, to do more than comply, to address the root causes that have caused us some adverse findings.

 

That is part of the president’s marching orders, and the DMW will certainly do its share to ensure that our seafarers are protected and empowered, and your sector as well. The business community will be in the loop and, hopefully, will be our partners in presenting to the world our reform agenda at the DMW and under the Marcos administration," Ople said.

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"Creating Currents" in the Energy and Maritime Industry


Over 90 companies from Norway, 45 speakers and three cabinet secretaries to participate in the 2-day conference.


Manila -- The first Norway - Philippines Maritime and Energy Conference is set to Create Currents at the Manila Peninsula Hotel this October, celebrating the strong business relations in the maritime and energy sector.


Over 45 speakers and experts from both Norway and the Philippines are taking on the most pressing issues of our time. The conference aims to push sustainability and innovation in both sectors.


"Norway is a long-term partner of the Philippines. Our maritime cooperation spans over 100 years. We are bringing a century-old Norwegian tall ship to celebrate our common seafaring history," says Norwegian Ambassador-Designate to the Philippines Christian Halaas Lyster.


"We are also looking to expand these strong ties into new industries, such as renewable energy, where Norwegian companies have a lot to offer," he added.

 

The conference will coincide with the arrival of the 108-year old Norwegian ship Statsraad Lehmkuhl in Manila. The vessel is currently on a global navigation around the world under One Ocean Expedition, a global campaign that shares knowledge about the importance of the ocean in achieving sustainable development for the future.


Stratsraad Lehmkuhl serves as a floating university/training vessel for students, scientists and professionals around the world and is arriving in Manila from Ishigaki, Japan.


PARTNERS AT SEA
Maritime Conference | 13 October 2022
Today, there are over 25,000 Filipinos working on Norwegian-controlled and Norwegian-owned ships. Moreover, there are over 50 companies with Norwegian maritime interests established in the Philippines.


Norway is the fourth largest shipping nation in the world measured by value, and one of the leading nations when it comes to shipping technology and zero emissions solutions for the maritime sector. The goal is ambitious: by 2050, the entire Norwegian fleet will be carbon neutral.


The conference will present solutions and technologies for the present transitional period and for a carbon neutral near future. Solutions and technologies involving hydrogen, ammonia, bio energy and offshore wind – to mention a few.


These rapid changes in the industry together with global socio-economic uncertainties will require agility from both ship owners and managers to attract, retain, and recruit for the future. Enhanced competence and skills development become even more important. 

 

With world class Filipino talents, the partnership of Norway and the Philippines will continue to strengthen.


SPEEDING UP THE ENERGY TRANSITION
Energy Conference | 14 October 2022
 

Norway is a world-leading player in renewable energy and ready to assist the Philippines in its goal of increasing the share of renewable energy in the energy mix by 30% by 2030.


"Norwegian companies and investors can play a very crucial role delivering renewable energy solutions to the Philippines. This for example includes developing offshore wind and floating solar, in addition to LNG as a transitional source of energy", says
Norwegian Ambassador-Designate to the Philippines Christian Halaas Lyster.


Norway is not a newcomer to the Philippine energy market. Norwegian company Scatec owns and operates four hydropower players together with Aboitiz Energy. Their joint venture, SN Aboitiz Power, also installed floating solar technology on the Magat
Dam in 2019. The technology was provided by Ocean Sun, another Norwegian company. Others are also looking into deploying innovative solutions for floating solar in the Philippines.


On Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), Oslo-based BW is a partner of local company FirstGen LNG in developing LNG capabilities for the country. BW's FSRU facility and the ship BW Batangas, an LNG processing facility, is the debut project of the five-year LNG
partnership.


Norway is also looking forward to introducing new renewable energy technologies, where the Philippines has a competitive advantage. A recent World Bank report has shown that the country has the potential to develop up to 178 GW of offshore wind.


Norwegian companies are looking forward to exploring these opportunities with local partners in the Philippines.


The two-day conference is organized by the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Manila, Norwegian Training Center (NTC), Norwegian Shipowners Association (NSA), and the Philippines - Norway Business Council (PNBC).


For more information about the conference, please visit: Norway - Philippines Maritime & Energy Conference | Creating Currents Together

 

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