Passage of MARINA bill in Senate hailed

MANILA, Feb. 14 (PNA) — A decisive passage of a bill designating the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) to watch over the welfare of 400,000 seafarers across the globe has earned praises from various individuals and groups.

Capt. Gaudencio Morales, president of Philippine Merchant Marine Academy Alumni Association, said they are grateful to Senate President Franklin Drilon and Angkla Rep. Jesulito Manalo for pushing the passage of the bill.

”We are grateful to Manalo and Drilon for “assisting the Filipino seafarers, particularly through proper implementation of the vital provisions of the STCW (standards of training, certirfication and watchkeeping for seafarers) Convention,” said Capt. Hernando Eusebio, president of the Society of Filipino Ship Captains.

”This will certainly help Filipino seafarers to further advance their knowledge, expertise, and competency,” he said.

Manalo said the collective support from Congress and the industry resulted in the swift passage of the parallel bills in both the House of Representatives and Senate.

“Once passed, this law ultimately ensures that the Filipinos remain the seafarers of choice in the world and will continue to move the world,” he said.

“Rest assured that when the law is enacted, ANGKLA will be looking at MARINA more intently and make sure that they see that this is now an opportunity for them to rise up to the challenge of making the lives of our seafarers easier,” he added.

Drilon commended his colleagues from both houses of Congress for painstakingly worked hard to ensure that the bill would be passed without delay.

Similarly, Drilon and Manalo thanked House Committee on Transportation chairman Rep. Cesar Sarmiento “for showing genuine concern to the thousands of Filipinos who have made their livelihood at the seas of the world.”

“Their great prudence and resolve led to the passage of the measure which protects the employment of 80,000 Filipino seafarers based in Europe from losing their jobs,” said Drilon.

Senate Bill No. 2043 filed by Drilon and House Bill 3766 filed by Manalo were both approved on third and final reading last February 10.

Manalo said “the bill is of global importance, as it re-affirms the commitment of the Philippines, to the International Maritime Organization (IMO).”

The IMO is a United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping, effectively serving as the overall governing body for world maritime affairs.

The European Union (EU) has earlier expressed its inclination to ban Filipino seafarers from EU-flagged vessels due to the country’s continued failure to demonstrate compliance with the 1978 International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, as amended (STCW Convention) — which the bill addresses and rectifies. (PNA)