UFS leader calls out AMOR Seaman

7:09 pm on 13 December 2023, Wednesday

The leader of the United Filipino Seafarers (UFS), Engr. Nelson Ramirez, has publicly criticized AMOR Seaman on his Facebook page  for its ties to Atty. Panambo, a prominent lawyer known for representing seafarer claims. AMOR Seaman has been notably active in recent policy debates on the Magna Carta for Seafarers, challenging key provisions more vigorously than many seafarer unions and employers.

Various labor groups, including the National Association of Trade Unions (NATU) and the Association of Marine Officers and Ratings (AMOR) Seaman, have opposed the escrow provision in the Magna Carta. The Federation of Free Workers (FFW) has also shown dissent through media statements. These organizations are not known  maritime stakeholders.

Despite presenting itself as a seafarer union, AMOR Seaman is not an officially recognized labor union and lacks a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) on any ship employing Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). In the 2016 Partylist election, AMOR Seaman ran without success, nominating Cecilio Ver Panambo of Panambo Law Office as their second nominee. This law office, particularly Cecilio Ver Panambo, actively represents seafarer claims at the NLRC and NCMB.

Similarly, Atty Dennis Gorecho, renowned for his outspoken opposition to the anti-ambulance chasing provisions in the Magna Carta, has been a prominent figure in the Magna Carta  deliberations. Although not officially representing any seafarer union or employer group, Atty Gorecho is widely acknowledged for seafarer claims practice.

In recent policy discussions, claimant lawyers have become more prominent than seafarer unions and employers, vigorously challenging key provisions in the Magna Carta invariably favoring  their practices and shaping public policy in the maritime sector.

Sources from the NLRC, NCMB, and the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) confirm the active involvement of lawyers Panambo  and Gorecho in seafarer claim cases.

The issue of ambulance-chasing in the maritime sector highlights the need for protective measures that benefit both Filipino and foreign seafarers. It underscores the importance of a comprehensive legal framework that protects the interests of seafarers and employers, aiming for a fair and ethical maritime industry.


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