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AMOSUP lauds gov’t support in fight against ambulance chasing


PH leading maritime union praises DMW Sec Ople, CJ Gesmundo for supporting the campaign against the crewing scourge

The Associated Marine Officers’ and Seamen’s Union of the Philippines (AMOSUP) applauded Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) Secretary Maria Susan “Toots” V. Ople for her commitment to intensify the campaign against ambulance chasing lawyers targeting seafarers.

In a correspondence to DMW, AMOSUP President Dr Conrado F Oca expressed his profound gratitude to Secretary Ople for her “swift action to shed light on pressing issues affecting seafarers… and efforts to amplify the industry’s call to stop the predatory and unethical practices of ambulance chasers who capitalize on the hardships and even the demise of seafarers.”

“We highly appreciate your dedication to moving the conversation forward by putting a spotlight on this problem during your meeting with Supreme Court Chief Justice Alexander G Gesmundo last 7 November 2022,” Dr Oca said.

Ambulance chasing was one of the seafaring issues discussed during Dr. Oca’s courtesy call on Secretary Ople and other DMW officials last 17 October 2022, together with AMOSUP’s longtime global ally, the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) led by its General Secretary, Mr Stephen Cotton.

The Philippines’ largest seafarers’ union also recognized Supreme Court Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo, “for issuing a stern warning against lawyers who exploit overseas Filipino workers. In a letter, Dr. Oca thanked CJ Gesmundo “for encouraging the OFW victims to file a complaint with the Court or with the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) to hold ambulance chasers accountable.”

“Your powerful voice as the country’s Chief Magistrate certainly empowered us to work even harder to advance our efforts in putting a stop to this indignity in our industry,” he added.

According to Dr. Oca, ambulance chasing has been hounding the Philippine maritime industry for years now, and is affecting the image and reputation of Filipino seafarers in the international shipping industry.

Last February, AMOSUP launched the campaign, “Karapatan: Sama Samang Ingatan!” together with the International Seafarers Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN), National Maritime Polytechnic (NMP), Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB), and National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC), to establish a strong collective stand against ambulance chasing.The DMW also accepted the invitation to be part of the campaign.

Through a Memorandum of Understanding, the convenors vowed to collaborate on educating seafarers about their contractual rights, legal avenues, and processes involved in claiming their benefits through the appropriate agencies and authorities. Activities have already begun since the MoU was signed, such as the webinar series and symposium in cooperation with ISWAN and NMP, respectively. The convenors are set to roll out the “Karapatan: Sama Samang Ingatan!” Info Caravan next year. “We commit to pushing this initiative further as we strive to keep our leadership and reputation as shipping companies’ top choice for competent and world-class seafarers,” Dr Oca concluded.