By Charissa Luci-Atienza
ANGKLA partylist Rep. Jesulito Manalo is counting on the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) to put in place corrective measures to ensure country’s compliance with the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), as the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) is set to conduct maritime audit within this year.
He said MARINA, under the leadership of Administrator Rey Guerrero should exhaust all means to ensure that the Philippines passes the maritime audit.
“I am confident that the political will of Administrator Guerrero and his team will ensure that MARINA will effectively resolve any outstanding items raised by EMSA in the conduct of its audits, ” Manalo said in a statement, as the October deadline for the implementation of corrective measures to address the findings of EMSA draws near.
“In doing so, MARINA can ensure our compliance with the various IMO conventions that serve as the governance platform of international shipping. In turn, this will help secure the employment and career development of more than 80,000 Filipino seafarers who sail on European-flagged or beneficially owned vessels, ” he said.
During its maritime audit from September 29 to October 3, 2014, the EMSA decided to give more time to the Philippines to fully implement Republic Act 10635, which was signed by into law by former President Benigno S. Aquino III on March 13, 2014.
It called on the MARINA to phase out maritime schools that fails to pass the EMSA standards, as it found out that half of the 91 maritime schools are no longer qualified to operate.
RA 10635, which was authored by Manalo, tasks MARINA to serve as a single maritime agency responsible for the implementation of the STCW
RA 10635 states that MARINA “assume all the powers and functions of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), Commission on Higher Education (CHEd), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Department of Health (DoH), and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) relative to issuance, validation, verification, correction, revocation, or cancellation of certificates of competency, endorsement, proficiency and documentary evidence required of all seafarers.”
Manalo welcomed the Malacañang’s decision for MARINA to take full responsibility in the supervision and inspection of maritime schools.
“We would like to congratulate MARINA, and Administrator Rey Guerrero for taking the helm and steering maritime education towards even an even brighter future, ” he said.
“If we are to build a truly maritime nation, we must go beyond complying with mere minimum standards. If MARINA is to take the lead in Philippine maritime education, it must be towards a future where Filipinos remain to be the world’s “seafarer of choice”– both for ratings and officers, ” Manalo said.