Bill targets ‘ambulance chasers’ victimizing seafarers | Inquirer News

Bill targets ‘ambulance chasers’ victimizing seafarers

By: - Reporter / @deejayapINQ
/ 04:30 AM October 05, 2015

A LAW PROHIBITING “ambulance chasers” from taking undue advantage of Filipino seafarers is on President Aquino’s desk awaiting his signature.

A party-list lawmaker said on Sunday the House of Representatives had adopted the Senate version of the proposed Seafarers Protection Act, which makes it illegal for lawyers to solicit business among seafarers and charge them hefty legal fees ranging from 30 to 60 percent of the monetary benefits due from cases of illness, accident or death.

The House passed its bill in December last year, while the Senate approved its version only last Sept. 21. The House agreed to adopt the Senate version on Sept. 30, said Angkla Rep. Jesulito Manalo, one of the measure’s proponents.


In a statement, Manalo expressed confidence President Aquino would sign the bill into law “anytime soon.”


“In behalf of all Filipino seafarers, I am grateful to all my colleagues in the House and our counterparts in the Senate, particularly Sen. Sonny Angara who sponsored the Senate version, for their positive action on the measure,” Manalo, the representative of the maritime sector in Congress, said.

Manalo, who is also a lawyer, said the bill would protect Filipino seafarers from being charged “unconscionable legal fees” taken from labor claims in connection with their illness, accident, or in the worst case, death.

“Seafarers working on international fleets are known to be awarded hefty compensation and benefit packages by reason of the risk to their lives while working in the high seas,” he said.

“This situation makes a seafarer an easy target for ambulance chasers, with legal practitioners having considerable interest in the monetary benefits that one may claim, and eventually be awarded,” Manalo said.

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