Call for Marcos to reintroduce ambulance chasing in the Magna Carta for seafarers

MANILA, Philippines — The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the International Maritime Employers’ Council (IMEC) have urged President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to reinstate Section 59 in the Magna Carta for Filipino Seafarers Law.

The term “ambulance chasing” refers to lawyers who are said to persuade seafarers or workers injured on the job to seek monetary damages from their employers.

According to the ICS and IMEC, before Marcos signs the measure, Section 59, which pertains to the exclusion of judgment and monetary awards, must be included again.

In an open letter spanning three pages, the organizations emphasized that the ramifications of ambulance chasing are significant. The removal of Section 59 earlier this year, they said, jeopardizes the Philippines’ standing as a leading labor supply country.

The ICS and IMEC also highlighted that as of September 2023, the quantifiable damage from ambulance chasing had amounted to $52.6 million. They expressed concern that genuine seafarers who deserve lawful disability benefits are not receiving them, as a large portion is absorbed by ambulance chasers.

Section 59 was stripped from Senate Bill 2221 and House Bill 7325 during a bilateral conference committee hearing in May.

Previous reports in 2022 and 2023 indicated that Marcos had established an International Advisory Committee on Global Maritime Affairs to address issues such as ambulance chasing.

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