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PAMI cautions Marina gainst making premature announcements on the closure of maritime schools; No official report on closure of over 60 maritime schools: MARINA

PAMI cautions Marina
Yashika F. Torib February 21, 2020

The Philippine Association of Maritime Institutions (PAMI) cautioned the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) against making premature announcements on the closure of maritime schools because of alleged non-compliance with to the STCW Convention standards.

PAMI President Felix Oca expressed grave concern over reports saying that Marina
recommended the closure of several maritime schools during his meeting with Marino party-list Rep. Sandro Gonzales.

“There is no basis for that recommendation because the evaluation made by Marina to maritime schools last September was supposedly for the Joint CHEd-Marina Memorandum Circular (JCMMC) #2 that is meant for new applicants for government permits. We were told during the orientation that we will be evaluated only to provide benchmark and that no matter the outcome, there will be no consequences. So where is this recommendation for closure coming from? Even CHEd stated that there should be none,” Oca, also the vice president of the Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific, said, referring to the Commission on Higher Education.

“The seriousness of that statement unfairly discredits practically the capacity of MHEIs (maritime higher education institutions) to deliver its mandated function of educating and training Filipino maritime students and consequently cast doubt on the competence of Filipino seafarers,” he added.

PAMI reiterated that the CHEd alone has the authority to issue closure orders upon the recommendation of the Technical Panel for Maritime Education.

“It is not within Marina’s power to close schools. Schools offer different programs and maritime education is only one among many. Are they going to announce the closure of the entire school even if only one of its program is not up to standards?” Oca said.

Meanwhile, Merle Jimenez-San Pedro, president of the Mariners’ Polytechnic Colleges Foundation based in Bicol, decried the constantly changing regulations implemented by Marina.

“PAMI was oriented about JCMCC last July, it was then published in August and come September, we were already evaluated on it. The announcement, implementation, and evaluation were all done in such haste that we were left with only a little time to make adjustments,” she said.

Foreign ship owners who hire Filipino seafarers were also dismayed by the reports.

“One of the foreign principals who were sponsoring our cadets were shocked by the turn of events,” said Ronald Raymond Sebastian, Chief Executive Officer of John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University, said. “They were asking how come our graduates pass and top the board licensure examinations given by Marina if we are sub-standard and subjected for closure.”

“This is causing alarm not only to our foreign principals but also to the parents who are concerned for their children,” Sebastian added.

No official report on closure of over 60 maritime schools: MARINA
Raymond Carl Dela Cruz February 21, 2020

MANILA — The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) on Friday said recent reports indicating the possible closure of two-thirds of the country’s maritime schools are not based on their official data.

“The information stated on those articles were not publicly pronounced, volunteered, nor were given to any media outlet,” MARINA said in a statement, referring to news stories released on February 14 and 17.

It said only the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) that can issue official pronouncements about maritime schools and that a report, based on joint inspections of maritime schools between the MARINA and CHED, was submitted to the latter for “appropriate action.”

“Although MARINA has the shared mandate with CHED to conduct inspections of maritime schools on matters relating to full compliance with the (Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers) Convention, it is but CHED which has the authority to take action on matters concerning maritime higher education, based on recommendations made by MARINA,” it said.

The agency also denied that its officials appeared in a hearing with the House of Representatives Committee on Transportation to discuss recommendations to CHED prior to the release of the two news reports.

“It is also untrue that MARINA officials were quizzed by legislators regarding inspections during the said non-existent HOR hearing as reported in the articles. In fact, it was only on February 19 that MARINA and CHED attended a hearing by Congress to discuss such matters,” MARINA said.

The misleading reports, according to MARINA's letter dated February 18 addressed to the Manila Times Publishing Company requesting for their removal, indicated that 61 out of the country’s 91 maritime schools were recommended for closure by MARINA

The reports were based on a statement released by the office of MARINO Party-list Rep. Sandro Gonzalez on February 13 which said that MARINA, in a meeting with the party-list, recommended the closure of several maritime schools for non-compliance with the standards set by the STCW Convention. (PNA)