DFA urged to secure release of 12 Filipino seafarers arrested in Iran
By Christia Marie Ramos
September 11, 2019 at 4:41 pm

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Francis Tolentino has urged the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to secure the release of the 12 Filipino seafarers detained for allegedly smuggling fuel in the Persian Gulf.

“Responsibilidad natin na masiguro ang kaligtasan ng mga Filipino crew, mga kababayan natin yan na nagsakripisyo na malayo sa kanilang mga pamilya, sa pagasa na makaangat sa kanilang pamumuhay,” Tolentino, vice chair of the Senate foreign relations committee, said in a statement on Wednesday.

In filing Senate Resolution 130, Tolentino called on the DFA to coordinate with Iranian authorities “to inquire on the condition” of the 12 Filipino seafarers and “to secure their release.”

The Philippines and Iran are both parties to the Maritime Labor Convention, Tolentino pointed out in his resolution.

The said convention, which entered into force in August 2013, provides that “[s]tate members shall ensure the protection and promotion of seafarers’ employment rights.

The DFA earlier confirmed reports that Iran’s Coast Guard seized a tugboat and detained its 12 Filipino crew last September 7.

READ: 12 Pinoys face charges in Iran for oil smuggling

According to Philippine Ambassador to Iran Wilfredo Santos, authorities relayed that the alleged oil smuggling of the crew is currently under investigation.

“Once this has been established, the matter will be referred to the local court,” the DFA said in a statement over the weekend.

“The [Philippine Embassy in Tehran] is seeking further updates on the seafarers’ condition, and stands ready to provide assistance when needed,” it added. /je

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