A seafarer fractured his left arm and was repatriated for medical treatment. He was advised to undergo a bone graft, but refused. He was thus given a Grade 11 disability award of $7,645 based on the Philippines Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) standard employment contract.

The seafarer filed a complaint with the National Labour Relations Commission (NLRC) alleging that he was employed under an Associated Marine Officers' and Seamen's Union of the Philippines (AMOSUP) collective bargaining agreement, which included a permanent medical unfitness clause which entitled him to full disability benefits of $80,000. He presented two doctor's certificates certifying his unfitness to work.

Both the labour arbitrator and the NLRC awarded full disability benefits of $80,000.

The Supreme Court ruled otherwise.(1) It held that no proof that the seafarer was entitled to benefits under a collective bargaining agreement had been presented. It pointed out that:

  • the seafarer had presented a Masterbulk collective bargaining agreement, which was an agreement between Masterbulk and a Singaporean union. The collective bargaining agreement was not an AMOSUP collective bargaining agreement, which was the basis of seafarer's complaint;
  • the collective bargaining agreement presented had missing pages and lacked a signature page. Some pages had been signed and some had not; and
  • the union membership card presented had expired.

The collective bargaining agreement presented included provision for jurisdiction of disputes in an arbitration court in Singapore. Further, the Singapore Workmen's Compensation Act had to be applied to the dispute. Such foreign law must be proven before the court in order to be applied.

The Supreme Court awarded disability benefits of $7,645 based on the POEA standard employment contract.

For further information on this topic please contact Ruben T Del Rosario at Del Rosario & Del Rosario law Offices by telephone (+63 2 810 1791), fax (+63 2 817 1740) or email ([email protected]).


(1) Wilfredo Antiquina v Magsaysay Mariitme Corporation, GR 168922, First Division, April 13 2011, Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-De Castro, Ponente.