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Looking forward to MARINA's enforcement of RA 10635


   JULY 2014

The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) gave Filipino seafarers, mostly officers a glimpse of what it plans to do once the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of Republic Act No. 10635 is approved.
To say that seafarers were satisfied with MARINA’s plans would be making an obvious understatement. 
    Judging from the animated response of over 120 seafarers that gathered at the AJSU Mariners’ Home Annex to attend the forum last June 25, they are excited to see the fruition of MARINA’s enforcement of the STCW Convention as mandated by RA 10635.
    The forum dubbed “Keeping Tab of the Real Score” was jointly organized by the Maritime Journalists Association of the Philippines (MJAP) and MARINA to serve as one of the highlights of this year’s June 25 Day of the Seafarer celebration.
    It sought to enlighten Filipino seafarers on burning issues affecting the practice of their profession through a no-holds barred dialogue with MARINA Administrator Dr. Maximo Mejia, Jr. Unfortunately, the MARINA official, who was still in Europe attending an IMO meeting at that time, could not make it to the forum.
    Representing him at the event was the country’s STCW czar, Capt. Alvin Tormon, who proved to be a worthy substitute for Dr. Mejia.
    He also has an inside track of the issues at hand: an update on the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) audit, the draft IRR of RA 10635, and the latest on the many versions of the Management Level Course (MLC). 
    As it turned out, however, the Executive Director of MARINA’s STCW Office enjoys a distinct advantage. Capt. Tormon, being a marine officer himself, was able to empathize with the plight of seafarers. 

Presentation

In his presentation, Capt. Tormon started off by sharing with the seafarers the most important findings of the latest EMSA audit report, directly lifting the text of the report, on four key areas: the failure to implement the National Quality Standard System; the proper implementation of MLC could not be ensured; inability of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) to demonstrate its proposed corrective actions; and the failure of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to demonstrate that the monitoring activities had been fully implemented and conducted in a uniform way.
    There is no question that these adverse observations would eventually lead to the withdrawal of recognition of Philippine STCW certificates. 
Hence to avert a disaster in the manning industry, Transportation Secretary Joseph EA Abaya and Administrator Mejia rushed to Europe to appeal to maritime authorities between May 23 and April 5, 2014.
    “Nagmakaawa at nangako sila para bigyan pa ng time ang Pilipinas (They pleaded with European maritime authorities and made some promises in order to sue more time for the Philippines),” he told the audience.
    The STCW head was candid enough to admit he was moved to tears over the plight of Filipino seafarers when he along with his deputy, Atty. Jabeth Dacanay, was presented to EU ambassadors last March 26.
    “On May 23, the EU Committee on Safe Seas (COSS) and the DGMOVE (Directorate General for Mobility and Transport) decided to give us an extension based on the credibility of the promises made by Philippine government officials.”
    “EMSA will conduct an inspection on the progress based on these promises by September and every 3 months thereafter,” the MARINA official informed those at the forum.


 
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