Oliver 18 0 0 6 min to read

PBBM establishes an advisory board to address problems in the maritime sector.

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The establishment of an advisory board was mandated by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Tuesday in response to the European Union’s (EU) criticism of the Philippine system for the education, training, and certification of seafarers.

According to a press release from Malacaang, Marcos gave the order during a meeting in Brussels, Belgium, with Francisco Gargiulo, CEO of the International Maritime Employers’ Council (IMEC), as well as other business executives, heads of European shipping firms, and representatives of shipowners associations.

Marcos stated that he intended the board to be made up of stakeholders, international shipowners, and officials from government organizations.

The Philippines continues to address maritime industry challenges in order to bring the nation into compliance with the Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping (STCW) Convention, he further reassured EU transport officials.

“The Philippines places a tremendous deal of value on its seafarers in a wide variety of ways. Although we acknowledge that the Philippines has performed admirably in terms of being the top seafarers globally over the past few years. However, all of these areas need to be examined in light of the evolving scenario following the epidemic, particularly when discussing supply line issues, he stated in the conference.

It is necessary to determine how training and curricular modifications would affect this, he continued.

Republic Act No. 11641 (RA), according to Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) Secretary Susan “Toots” Ople, specifies the establishment of an advisory board to evaluate training and credentials.

We looked at the law establishing the Department of Migrant Workers, and we found that it has a clause allowing the department to develop or establish advisory groups with the participation of significant stakeholders, such as employers and in this case, foreign shipowners.

She claimed that in order to make sure that the nation’s training initiatives and accreditation program for seafarers would meet the standards of the EU, her department could regularly meet with the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and other pertinent institutions.

In an effort to enhance the ties between the public and private sectors and support the Philippine maritime industry, Marcos also reaffirmed that his administration is doing so.

“Perhaps we might expand on that concept, especially in terms of training. We’ve always cared about our mariners, he continued.

He also expressed gratitude to IMEC for enhancing the productive cooperation between Manila and the EU.

The Philippines were given a warning by the Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) of the European Commission earlier this year for shortcomings in domestic seafarer education, training, and certification.

On Sunday, Marcos vowed that his administration will “do everything” to correct these issues in order to protect the jobs of Filipino seamen hired to serve on EU ships.

Representative Sandro Gonzalez of the MARINO Party list concurred with President Marcos on Tuesday that this is the nation’s “final chance” to correct the EMSA conclusions, pointing out that 50,000 Filipino sailors employed by European warships face a possible job loss.

If the Philippine government does not take action as soon as possible, “more than 50,000 seafarers in shipping businesses with European headquarters risk losing their employment,” Gonzalez added. “This problem has been unresolved for years, and we are still trying to figure out how to fix it successfully.”

He expressed the hope that Marcos would continue to consistently put forward his support for the industry, particularly while presenting his priority agenda with other nations, and remarked that Filipino sailors remained a valuable resource to the nation’s economy.

Let’s not forget that Filipino sailors are in high demand abroad, so we should take aggressive measures to safeguard their welfare and employment prospects, Gonzalez added.

According to a United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) 2021 assessment, the Philippines continues to be the leading supplier of seafarers for both officers and ratings, across all departments, aboard merchant cargo vessels.

Filipino sailors contributed significantly to the nation’s economy in 2021, sending home a total of USD6.54 billion, up from USD6.353 billion in 2020, or by 3%.

According to its website, IMEC is the only international employers’ group devoted to marine labor relations. It represents 250 shipping businesses throughout the world and runs out of offices in the Philippines and the UK.

IMEC currently employs an estimated 300,000 seafarers, and more than 12,000 cargo vessels from 60 different nations are registered.

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