You are here

FAME bats for govt training subsidy for cadets

FAME bats for govt training subsidy for cadets
September 7, 2022

THE nation's biggest manning association, the Filipino Association for Mariners' Employment (FAME), wants the government to play a decisive role in addressing some problems in the country's maritime education and training, including cadetship berths.

The lack of cadetship berths has been a long-standing industry issue and, ever since, it has been primarily the concern of maritime schools. This time, FAME, the eventual end users of Filipino cadets, has called on the government to provide training subsidies to cadets similar to other countries' practices.

FAME president, Capt. Gaudencio Morales, sounded the call even as he identified several nagging problems that had beset the manning industry for many years, even decades, on August 25 during the last General Membership Meeting of the association.

FAME's call came at the most opportune time since Congress had just started deliberations on the proposed national budget for 2023.

As the biggest supplier of seafarers for international fleets, the country is benefiting much from seafarers' copious remittances yearly. In the first half of 2022 alone, they already sent home $3.18 billion, higher than the $3.13 billion from the same period last year.

To ensure this continued robust seafarers' contributions to the economy, the government should take a more proactive role in the proper training of cadets by providing training subsidies for the country's future seafarers, said Morales.

"We strongly request the government to provide cadets a scholarship or subsidy to qualified cadets while serving as cadets onboard domestic ships," he said during the opening statement at the FAME meeting.

As this developed, the UK government had just announced that it would almost double its training subsidy to cadet training costs from the current 30 to 50 percent next year. The increase represents about £13 million in extra funding for rating and cadet training, part of a £43 million package to help build the UK maritime industry.

In contrast to the Philippines, the government has passed on the costs of cadet training largely to foreign employers and Filipino students.

On lack of cadetship berths, Morales proposed that all Philippine-registered overseas and domestic vessels compliant with STCW with 500 gross tons and above and with 750 kW propulsion power or higher, must be required to accept at least one deck and engine cadet from those who completed the three-year classroom instruction.

At present, he said, "There are about 90 maritime colleges in the country with an enrollment of 90,000 students. Out of these about 25,000 complete classroom instruction every year, but only about 5,000 can find cadetship berths every year for both international and domestic vessels."

Also, Morales underscored the problems in the inspection of schools and maritime training institutions (MTIs) on their compliance with education and training standards.

Aside from suspicion of corruption, Marina and Commission on Higher Education inspectors often come out with many inconsistent findings among schools and MTIs.

Hence, Morales proposed that "the government, through Marina, should outsource the audits on schools and training facilities to international classification societies" to obtain a more credible audit result.