Ople: Monumental crisis averted, 50,000 jobs saved
After getting an extension of the Philippines’ maritime education, the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is prepared with its plans and programs to efficiently address the six deficiencies identified by the European Commission in the country’s maritime and seafaring sector.
The Department of Transportation said that although the European Commission has yet to set a deadline for meeting the EU level standards, the country’s Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) would be closely coordinating to address these deficiencies.
According to the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW), the European Commission’s decision to continue recognizing the Philippines’ training and certification will directly benefit more than 50,000 Filipino seafarers.
The EC’s Directorate General for Mobility and Transport on March 31 extended its recognition of Philippine-issued seafarers certificates, saying Manila has made “serious efforts” to address deficiencies in monitoring, supervision, and evaluation of training and assessment.
It had identified six areas of deficiencies in the maritime education, training and certification for seafarers of the Philippine government.
These were in areas of monitoring, supervision and evaluation of training and assessment; examination and assessment of competence; program and course design and approval; availability and use of training facilities and simulators; on-board training; and issue, revalidation and registration of certificates and endorsements.
The DOTr said before they had been focusing on improving the training and the types of equipment in maritime schools in the country to improve the quality of their graduates.
DMW Secretary Susan Ople said the decision is a testimony to the leadership and political will of President Marcos in ensuring the country’s compliance with the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for seafarers (STCW).
“With this decision, a crisis of monumental proportions has just been averted,” Ople said, adding that roughly 50,000 jobs of Filipino masters and officers aboard European vessels have been saved in light of the decision.
Ople thanked the EC for recognizing the significant efforts being made by the Marcos administration to comply with the requirements under the International Convention on STCW for seafarers.
“We look forward to the start of technical cooperation between the Philippines and EC in professionalizing and further improving the skills of Filipino seafarers,” she said.
President Marcos in December met with the European shipowners in Brussels, which led to the creation of the International Advisory Committee on Global Maritime Affairs (IACGMA) that now offers technical advice to the DMW on seafarers’ concerns.
The President also met with EU President Ursula von der Leyen on the sidelines of the EU-ASEAN Summit to discuss technical cooperation to improve the education, training, and certification system for Filipino seafarers.
“The President has been consistent and relentless in taking up the cudgels for our Filipino seafarers,” Ople said.
Meanwhile, two legislators on Saturday lauded the European Commission’s decision.
Rep. Ron Salo of Kabayan and Marissa Magsino of OFW party-list said the decision comes as a relief for the thousands of Filipino seafarers directly working in EU-flagged vessels.
“The decision of the European Commission is a testament to the competence and efficiency of our seafarers and the quality of training and education they have received. It also reflects the efforts of the Philippine government in ensuring compliance of the country’s maritime education and training with the standards set by the International Maritime Organization (IMO),” Salo said.