President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Tuesday ordered a whole-of-government approach to bolster the new maritime industry program that is expected to bring substantial economic growth.
In a speech during the Philippine Maritime Industry Summit 2023, President Marcos said the new program, called the Maritime Industry Development Plan (MIDP) 2028, will cover the eight-point economic agenda of his administration.
“Through this development plan—which was formulated by the Marina (Maritime Industry Authority) and the DOTr (Department of Transportation), in coordination with relevant government agencies and key stakeholders—we will achieve our two core objectives: First, to ensure the development and expansion of the Philippine merchant fleet and second, to ensure the advancement of a future-ready maritime human capital,” he said.
“Specifically, this plan covers eight priority programs ranging from enhancing maritime transport safety and security; promoting environmental sustainability; implementing digitalization; modernizing, upgrading and expanding domestic and overseas shipping industries— including the local shipbuilding and ship repair industry; promoting a highly skilled and competitive maritime workforce; and adopting an effective and efficient maritime administration governance system,” the President said.
Marcos also noted that the MIDP will establish a system that will lessen the detrimental impacts of both natural and man-made calamities and prepare for future contingencies that may affect the sector.
In 2022 alone, the Philippines was the world’s primary source of maritime manpower— constituting 25 percent of the global seafarers and bringing in a total of $6.71 billion in remittances, the President said.
“With that being said, I laud the commitment of our Filipino seafarers to bring honor and pride once again to the country. They do this by providing quality service across the globe and contributing to our nation-building efforts,” President Marcos said as he thanked officials and members of the country’s domestic and overseas shipping, shipbuilding and the ship repair sectors.
Marcos said that as of Dec. 31, 2022, there were nearly 16,000 registered domestic sea vessels plying the nearly 1,000 inter-island shipping routes across the country.
There are almost 100 Philippine- registered overseas ships that yielded P30.75 million in tax collections in 2022, the President added.
“With regard to the local shipbuilding and ship repair sector, as of 2021, there are 116 Marina- registered shipyards across the country,” President Marcos added.
The President believes that the country, being a maritime nation, should now make the maritime industry a top priority.
“While we already hold a dominant position in the world of global shipping, I certainly believe that we can do more, especially here at home,” he said.
“We already hold the most vital ingredient to success— which is our seafarers. All we need to do now is to ensure that we harness their knowledge, make use of their experience, and mobilize our local industries to build an even stronger domestic maritime industry for the benefit of our people,” the President said.
The President also urged all government institutions and key stakeholders to collaborate and cooperate to ensure the continued growth and development of the maritime sector.