The Philippine government has said it will start issuing biometric ID cards to Filipino seafarers later this year. The cards – believed to be the first of their kind in Asia – will include information such as the name, age and home address of the cardholder as well as details of promotions received by the seafarer.
Progress on the card was announced by the government’s acting labour secretary Manuel Imson on the sidelines of the Asia Europe meeting of Asian labour ministers in May 2006.
The cards aim to reduce the inconvenience of entering and exiting seaports in various parts of the world, and have been designed following recommendations by the International Labor Organization under convention number 185 for a biometric ID system for seafarers.
Eventually around 1.2 million maritime workers could be covered worldwide, including an estimated 250,000 seafarers in the Philippines alone. According to Mr Imson, all Filipino seafarers will receive the ID card, which is valid for five years, free of charge.