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DOTr wants inter-agency efforts to address maritime industry issues

DOTr wants inter-agency efforts to address maritime industry issues
Bamba Galang, Apr 3, 2023

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 3) — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) said cooperation among different agencies is needed to address issues in the maritime industry, specifically the deficiencies raised by the European Commission after it decided to continue recognizing certificates of Filipino seafarers.

“We hope that there will be inter-agency communication. It is not an exclusive problem of MARINA (Maritime Industry Authority),” Joni Gesmundo, executive assistant of DOTr Secretary Jaime Bautista, told CNN Philippines’ The Source on Monday.

On March 31, the European Commission for Transport announced the development, citing Manila’s “serious efforts” to comply with the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping (STCW) for seafarers.

However, the EU still pointed out six deficiencies that the Philippines should address. These are monitoring, supervision, and evaluation of training, examination and assessment of competence, program and course design, availability and use of training facilities and simulators, on-board training, and issue, revalidation, and registration of certificates.

Gesmundo said relevant agencies need to be involved to address the deficiencies.


For example, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) can assist in assessing who are the qualified instructors in training schools, he said. Maritime authorities can also become trainers themselves, he added.

The PCG can also lend some of its vessels, especially to schools that do not have such facilities to train their students, Gesmundo said.

On Monday, Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chairperson Prospero de Vera said in a statement that the agency is ready to work with MARINA and maritime higher education institutions (HEI) in implementing reforms based on the concerns cited by the EU.

CHED and MARINA have also implemented other initiatives to improve the country’s maritime industry, De Vera noted.

“Initiatives on curricular reforms, examination and assessment, ship board training, and capacity-building training for CHED, MARINA and Maritime HEIs were undertaken,” he said. “A five-year moratorium on the opening of new maritime programs was imposed to make sure the review of all maritime schools can be undertaken before we add new ones.”

The EU has expressed willingness to assist in addressing the deficiencies raised.

In December 2021, the EU warned that seafarer certificates issued by the Philippine government would be revoked if the country fails to comply with international standards.

Gesmundo said up to 63 areas of concern were earlier cited but MARINA was able to address majority of them.

On Sunday, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. committed to solve the issues facing the country’s maritime industry, with the goal of developing world-class Filipino seafarers.

The Department of Foreign Affairs earlier warned that 50,000 Filipino seafarers in the EU are at risk of losing their jobs if the commission decided otherwise.