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Marcos OKs 10-year roadmap to improve maritime industry

Marcos OKs 10-year roadmap to improve maritime industry
February 13, 2024 |

MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has greenlighted a long-term roadmap for the improvement of the Philippines' maritime sector, with a special focus on bringing up the quality of the maritime workforce in the country.

The 10-year Maritime Industry Development Plan 2028, outlined in Executive Order 55, which Marcos signed on February 8, aims to create a “strong and reliable” Philippine Merchant Fleet that will meet the country’s sea transport requirements and goals for national development.

The roadmap underscores the need to improve the country’s maritime workforce to make it globally competitive and, as part of the government’s 8-point socio-economic agenda, eventually position the Philippines as a “key aviation hub in Asia.”

EO 55 tasks the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) with regular monitoring and review of the country's modernization of the domestic shipping, shipbuilding and ship repair industry.

MARINA will also oversee the promotion of the country's overseas shipping industry and enhance its maritime transport safety and security.

The 10-year roadmap also includes the implementation of a sustainable maritime innovation, transformation, digitalization and knowledge center and adoption of an effective and efficient maritime administration governance system.

In 2021, the European Commission issued a warning to the Philippine authorities that they would withdraw their recognition of Filipino seafarers' certificates unless serious measures were taken to improve compliance with international standards for maritime workers. This was a result of the Philippines consistently failing to meet these standards since 2006.

However, in 2023, the European Commission decided to continue honoring the certificates issued by the Philippines to Filipino seafarers, despite previously finding deficiencies in seafarer training in the country. This decision was crucial in saving the jobs of approximately 50,000 Filipino seafarers working on EU-flagged vessels.

As a result of this, MARINA and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) pledged to improve the quality of seafarer training in the Philippines. CHED also maintained a five-year moratorium on new maritime programs while reviewing all maritime schools to ensure their compliance with international standards.

The Philippines sends out the most number of seafarers globally compared to any other country, as reported by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development in 2021.