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NATIONAL MARINE SUMMIT 2019: New policy binds government, private sector to boost maritime industry

NATIONAL MARINE SUMMIT 2019: New policy binds government, private sector to boost maritime industry
Yashika F. Torib November 6, 2019

A newly updated resolution on the National Marine Policy (NMP) strengthens the collaboration between the government and private sector for the long-term improvement of the maritime industry.

The resolution, submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte as represented by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea during the National Marine Summit on October 29 and 30, was unanimously drafted, approved, and adopted by industry leaders for the sustainable development of the country’s maritime assets and interests.

Among the many provisions of NMP includes the allocation of public investments for the development of ports and other coastal infrastructures, procurement of maritime safety and security systems to save lives and properties at sea and prevent maritime accidents, establishing a community-based marine and coastal management systems, and formulation of the “Bantay Dagat Bill.”

The recommendations were presented and submitted by maritime luminaries, spearheaded by Movement for Maritime Philippines (MMP) Chairman Merle Jimenez-San Pedro.

MMP consists of maritime stakeholders from diverse sectors to include shipping, shipbuilding, manning, education and training, labor unions, marine scientists and environmentalists, and other non-government organizations.

Medialdea, who also sits as the chairman of the National Coast Watch Council (NCWC), acknowledged the Summit to be the “widest representation of maritime stakeholders ever to be assembled under one roof” to initiate dialogues for the industry.

“An updated marine policy would be a giant towards the fulfillment of our President’s promise – to develop a national maritime agenda for inclusive economic progress. Such policy will be a useful road map for all of us but more than that, it will be a running point as one maritime community,” he said.

Meanwhile National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. revealed the government’s plan to put up a national research academic fleet to achieve a “robust and strengthened” marine scientific research in the country.

Esperon said this should establish data for the sustainable exploitation and use of the country’s marine resources.

DND, PCG ready to protect PH waters

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that the country’s security sector would “always be ready” to protect the maritime industry from any threats, as he stressed that the administration’s resolve to promote economic development and protect the natural resources in the Philippine waters.

“The Department of National Defense earnestly supports our maritime industry by ensuring maritime security and by contributing to an environment that is conducive [to] trade and commerce [growth],” Lorenzana said, based on the statement read by DND Undersecretary Arnel Duco.

Lorenzana also added the DND is “fully supportive” of the Maritime Industry Development Plan (MIDP) 2019 to 2028, which he deemed as the “first-ever comprehensive plan that aims to chart the future of our maritime industry.”

“With MIDP, various government agencies such as the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), with the Philippine Navy, address maritime terrorism, piracy, armed robbery at sea, transnational crimes, illegal fishing, and marine environmental degradation,” the Defense chief said.

While the PCG, thru its representative, PCG deputy commandant for operations Vice Admiral Leopoldo Laroya, said the “complex problem” of security risks in the Philippine waters will not cease unless the government can address its “roots and causes.”

He noted the illegal gas exploitation and unregulated fishing in the Philippine Rise, the reclamation activities of China in the disputed West Philippine Sea, and the maritime terrorism, kidnapping, human trafficking and smuggling of goods in southwest Mindanao.

Laroya, nevertheless, ensured that the PCG would exhaust all means to pursue a “safe, clean and secure maritime environment, by means of “sustained vigilance and strict monitoring efforts.”

With a reports from RAFFY AYENG