PH Opens first ‘Green Lane’ for Seafarers in Asia

PH Opens first ‘Green Lane’ for Seafarers in Asia
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin Jr. (Middle) is joined by (from left) DILG Undersecretary Bernardo Florece, Secretary of Labor Silvestre Bello III, Secretary of Transportation Arthur Tugade, and DOJ Assistant Secretary Nicholas Felix Ty in the signing of the Philippine Green Lane Joint Circular on 02 July 2020 at the DFA. (Not in photo: DOH-Bureau of Quarantine representative Dr. Edgar Maala). (Photo by Nilo K. Palaya)

The Philippines opened the first “green lane” for seafarers in Asia to allow the free movement of seafarers and personnel across borders, with the signing today at DFA of the Philippine Green Lane Joint Circular, led by Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin Jr. He was joined by Secretary of Labor Silvestre Bello III, Secretary of Transportation Arthur Tugade, DILG Undersecretary Bernardo Florece, DOJ Assistant Secretary Nicholas Felix Ty, and DOH-Bureau of Quarantine representative Dr. Edgar Maala.

The Joint Circular, which takes effect upon signing today, is created by the Philippine government to ensure that seafarers are accorded speedy and safe travel, subject to health protocols mandated by the Philippine government, including safe and swift disembarkation and crew change during the COVID-19 pandemic. This also intends to prevent the spread of COVID-19 for both filipino and foreign seafarers whether inbound, outbound or transiting during crew change or repatriation

Furthermore, the Joint Circular will facilitate the creation of controlled travel corridors to open the Philippines for people-to-people and economic exchange and stimulate the country’s economy amidst its ongoing bout against the pandemic.

Emphasizing the need for ships to be given fresh crew to keep the international maritime trade moving, Secretary Locsin said: “We need to address the situation of the world’s seafarers without whom there would be no shipping and who ensure the maintenance of global supply chains.”

“With these guidelines, we are answering the call of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the maritime industries, to put in place a framework for ensuring safe ship crew changes and travel during the COVID-19 pandemic. And we are doing more,” Secretary Locsin added .

The Joint Circular covers seafarers, licensed manning agencies, shipping companies, airlines and other entities involved in facilitating the travel of seafarers for purposes of crew change and repatriation during the COVID-19 pandemic. It sets the minimum standards and process flows for each applicable scenario that all stakeholders should follow to facilitate the speedy and safe conduct of crew change or repatriation. It also aims to complement the existing standard health and safety protocols.

The Joint Circular is a product of the concerted efforts by the DFA, DOJ, DOTr, DOH, DOLE, DILG, DOH, MARINA, POEA, OWWA, BoQ, BI, PCG, PPA, CAAP, MIAA and PhilHealth.— Source: DFA.GOV.PH

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