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Training stakeholders, union welcomes Department of Migrant Workers plans for National Maritime Polytechnic

Training stakeholders, union welcomes DMW plans for NMP
Yashika F. Torib August 17, 2022

MARITIME training stakeholders and the largest seafarer's union in the country welcomed the plans of the Department of Migrant Workers to convert the National Maritime Polytechnic (NMP) into the maritime industry's think tank.

"That is very good," says Dr. Conrado Oca, president of the Associated Marine Officers and Seamen's Union of the Philippines or Amosup, the largest seafarers' union in the country.

"NMP, right now, is doing research, and it would be very helpful to the industry if it continues this effort and improve," he said on the DMW's plan to convert NMP into a think tank.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Association of Maritime Training Center Inc. (Pamtci) suggested ways to maintain synergy between the maritime public and private sectors.

According to Pamtci President Karen Avelino, NMP is already a maritime training and research center based on its legal mandate by virtue of Presidential Decree 1369.

"By virtue of its creation, it needs to focus on research as it is the weakest area in the maritime [industry] and develop our capacity to compete with other countries.

"On the training side, we recommend that they focus on competencies required by industry in support of the overall archipelagic nature of the Philippines and those needed by maritime agencies. [This is] in support of the National Maritime Agenda or Maritime Industry Development Plan. This way, it will have good synergy with the private sector," she added.

Migrant Workers Secretary Susan "Toots" Ople disclosed the government's plan to "enhance the mandate of NMP" in an interview with The Manila Times Chairman and CEO Dante "Klink" Ang 2nd in SMNI's weekly television show, "Business and Politics.'

NMP is the sole government maritime training and research center in the country. It was formed in 1978 to provide maritime training, assessment and research services to address the burgeoning demand for Filipino seafarers in the world fleet.

Ople said converting NMP into a think tank is one of the solutions seen by DMW in harmonizing the seemingly overlapping functions of the Commission on Higher Education, Maritime Industry Authority or Marina, and Department of Labor and Employment when it comes to the education, training and certification of Filipino seafarers.

"We have to harmonize all of these things and reconcile all these efforts. Admittedly, some gaps have been there for a very, very long time. We have to show the political will needed to address those gaps," Ople said.

"We need to talk to Marina, and I have not done that yet. The conversation needs to take place soon," she added.

Ople explained that should NMP be converted into a think tank, one of its responsibilities is to supervise the processing of all the audit reports in the industry and other concerns about the scale and certification of Filipino seafarers.

"I found out after a meeting with the Joint Manning Group that the Philippines produces an estimated 30,000 maritime graduates. However, there are not enough training ships for the cadets to train on, and manning agencies can only hire 5,000 of them," she said.

Think tank organizations serve as policy and research institutes to advocate on particular matters of policy or society.