The Philippines is considered as the major supplier of maritime labor globally. Per POEA data, there were 330,404 Filipino seafarers deployed abroad comprising almost 30 percent of the global maritime labor force. The number of deployed Filipino seafarers has decreased from 2006 (274,497), 2007 (266,553) to 2008 (261,614) but increased in 2009 (330,404) while the dollar remittances have been constantly increasing from US$1.9B in 2006, US$2.2B in 2007, US$3.034B in 2008 to US$3.4B in 2009.
The SVBB law office works hand-in-hand with various stakeholders in ensuring the legal protection for seafarers, often working in co-operation with government and non-government initiatives. The law firm has active participation in the activities of various maritime organizations, unions and non-government organizations such as the Apostleship of the Seas (AOS) Philippines , Union of Filpino Seafarers (UFS), Maritime Lawyers’ Association of the Philippines (MARLAW), Seafarers’ Wives of the Philippines, Inc (SWAPI), and Ang Kapisanan ng Seamen, Inc (AKSI). AOS is the international catholic church-based NGO which is known to be very vocal in dealing with seafarers' concerns, both locally and globally.
One of the regular activities of the law firm is to conduct paralegal lectures on seafarers’ legal rights in maritime schools, organizations, seafarers’ dormitories, and parishes all over the Philippines which aims to enlighten the stakeholders on the realities and the legal issues confronting them. Despite the economic support given by the seafarers to the Philippine government, very few are knowledgeable of their legal rights under the law and contract.
The lecture, two hours in the average, is basically divided into two parts. First deals with a national situationer of the seafaring industry, both in the national and international level using statistics from POEA, CHED, BSP. Second part deals with the . basic legal issues such as (a) seafarers under the different legal regime (b) sources of legal rights i.e. Phil. Constitution; R.A. 8042 as amended; Labor laws; POEA Contract/ CBA; Civil Code (c) means how to protect these legal rights and (d) RA. 10002 amending RA 8042.