By Aerol John Patena, PNA
MANILA — The Philippines will continue to improve the quality of maritime education to maintain its status as a leading provider of seafarers in the world, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said on Wednesday.
“The cooperation of CHED [Commission on Higher Education] and MARINA [Maritime Industry Authority] will continue. Nagawa yan sa Duterte administration so kailangan ituloy yun kaya nga merong mga kurso na three years ngayon na pino-formulate at tinatapos (This was done in the Duterte administration and must be continued so there are three year maritime courses that are being formulated and finalized),” Tugade told reporters on the sidelines of MARINA’s 45th anniversary celebration held at its office in Port Area, Manila.
The Philippines still remains on the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) whitelist of countries that comply with the STCW Convention 1978 which sets the international standards for the certification, training and watchkeeping for seafarers.
Tugade also lauded the initiative of the Duterte administration which set the MARINA as the single maritime agency that will supervise the certification and training for seafarers through Executive Order (EO) 63.
The EO mandates MARINA to evaluate and inspect all maritime higher education institutions in coordination with the CHED to ensure that maritime education programs comply with the international regulations.
Meanwhile, MARINA officer-in-charge Administrator Vice-Admiral Narciso Vingson Jr. stressed that the country should remain on the IMO whitelist to continue its deployment of seamen and other maritime labor worldwide.
“As part of our compliance with the Convention, we have to comply with the IMO independent evaluation. We have done that so far. We have to pass that audit,” Vingson said.
MARINA is also pushing for the passage of a legislative measure that will provide the enforcement of international standards on maritime safety, prevention of pollution from ships, load lines, tonnage measurements and regulations for preventing collisions at sea of which the Philippines is a State Party.
Data from the MARINA shows that the Philippines was able to deploy nearly 400,000 Filipino seafarers overseas worldwide in 2017.
Sea-based overseas Filipino workers remitted a total of USD5.87 billion for that year which was higher by 21.4 percent from USD4.84 billion in 2012. (PNA)