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MB Editorial: Maritime industry excellence: Affirming PH as Pearl of the Orient Seas

Maritime industry excellence: Affirming PH as Pearl of the Orient Seas
Manila Bulletin Mar 6, 2023

Addressing the Philippine Maritime Industry Summit 2023 at the Manila Hotel recently, President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. said: “Given that the Philippines is a maritime nation, I believe that it is time for us to make the maritime industry once again a top priority.”

The President anchored his call on the country’s reputation as the world’s primary source of maritime seafarers. One out of every four seafarers plying cargo and passenger leisure vessels is a Filipino --- and this is well recognized in the International Maritime Organization (IMO) where the Philippines holds a seat in the IMO Council. The Council is the executive organ of the IMO that is responsible for supervising the work of the Organization.

The Philippines is one of 40 Council members. It is one of 20 states in category C “which have special interests in maritime transport or navigation and whose election to the Council will ensure the representation of all the major geographic areas of the world. The other 20 countries in Categories A and B are the “states with the largest interest in providing international shipping services” or the owner of shipping companies; and “the states with the largest interest in international seaborne trade. Among those In Category A are the United States, China, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the Republic of Korea. Category B includes India, the United Arab Emirates, Australia, France, and Germany.

The Philippines is the world’s primary source of maritime manpower, constituting 25 percent of the global seafarers and bringing a total of $6.71 billion in remittances in 2022. Notably, Indonesia, Cyprus and Greece the countries’ competitors, are also well- recognized in the IMO.

The Maritime Summit called attention to a much broader field covering 10 domestic shipping in support of the Philippine nautical highway development; 2) Development of shipping services for tourist destination areas; 3) Development of coastal and inland waterways transport systems; 4) Strengthening the safety standards of Philippine-registered fishing vessels; 5) Development of a global maritime hub; 6) Enhancement of maritime safety; 7) Enhancement of maritime transport security in the Philippines; 8) Maritime innovation and knowledge center; 9) Development of competitive and highly skilled Filipino maritime professionals; and 10) Implementation of the Philippine strategy on maritime environment protection.

This year’s summit comes at the midpoint of the 10-year roadmap which projects that the maritime industry’s contribution to the economy will double to P1.44 trillion once the Maritime Industry Development Plan is fully implemented in 2028. The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) says this is aligned with the eight-point priority agenda of the Marcos administration that seeks to accelerate economic growth.

Responsible agencies must step up their efforts. State-of-the-art physical and human infrastructure must be put in place to ensure the attainment of world-class capabilities and customer-friendly services. Excellence in the maritime industry will affirm the Philippines’ heritage as the Pearl of the Orient Seas.