DOLE Orders Implementation of “Seafarers Protection Act”

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) released Department Order No. 153, Series of 2016, or the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. 10706 otherwise known as the “Seafarers Protection Act.”

The law aims to protect seafarers from “ambulance chasing”—the act of a person soliciting cases and encouraging lawsuits from seafarers or their families for the purpose of gaining monetary claims or benefits from the employer when an accident, illness or death occurs. The ambulance chaser usually gets a fee which will be deducted from the monetary compensation given to the seafarers or their families.  ​  

Under this law, ambulance chasing and the collusion in the commission of ambulance chasing are considered criminal acts punishable by a fine of PhP50,000 to PhP100,000; imprisonment of one to two years; or both fine and imprisonment. A collusion happens when two or more connive to make seafarers victims of such act. Furthermore, the law states that the amount of attorney’s fees in cases filed by seafarers should not exceed 10% of the compensation or benefit given. However, imposing excessive fees is limited to civil and/or administrative liabilities only.​

The Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. 10706 took effect last May 21, 2016.

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