MARINA Intensifies Drive Versus Fly-by-Night Maritime Schools

THE Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) is making sure the country will be able to meet the foreseen growth in demand for Filipino seafarers globally—estimated at 1 percent annually by administrator Dr. Maximo Mejia—by upgrading the Philippines’s maritime educational system.

Mejia, in a forum with BusinessMirror, Pilipino Mirror, Philippines Graphic and DWIZ on Monday, said the current global trade scenario is approximating the pre-2008 setting when there was a gap between the demand for Filipino seafarers and what the Philippines can actually supply.

“My gut feel, based on the current growth trend [in world trade], the demand for Filipino seafarers will grow by 1 percent annually up to 2016. The Filipinos will remain as the seafarers of choice,” Mejia said.

He said once global trade has returned to the pre-2008 level, the Philippines should be ready to supply the demand for seafarers.

“We are almost in the pre-crisis situation, so what I want to do is that when that time comes, we have already have a maritime education system that negates doubt on the quality of all Filipino seafarers that we will produce; all should be ready for deployment immediately,” Mejia said.

The Philippines deploys an average of 400,000 seafarers annually.

Marina is weeding out schools that have low success rates in the board exams for maritime officers as part of its thrust to refine the quality of maritime education in the country.

According to the Marina administrator, almost half of the 93 colleges offering maritime education in the Philippines may be considered subpar.

As such, he said Marina will be taking on the function of administering board exams for maritime officers next year. The Professional Regulation Commission currently administers the exams. “We are now in the role of controlling the quality of education, so as far as the government is concerned, the thrust is to ensure the quality of training and certification agencies. When we say Marina-accredited, they should stand up to scrutiny by any international body,” Mejia said.

The Implementing Rules and Regulations for Republic Act 10635, otherwise known as “An Act Establishing the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) as the Single Maritime Administration Responsible for the Implementation and Enforcement of International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, as Amended, and International Agreements and Covenants Related Thereto,” was approved by the Marina board just last week.

The law is seen to speed up compliance to the international standards for training, certification and watchkeeping of Filipino seamen by rationalizing the mechanisms for compliance that was once disaggregated to different agencies.


In Photo: Maritime Industry Authority Administrator Maximo Q. Mejia Jr. (left), PhD, discusses his agency’s programs during a forum with reporters, editors and officers of the BusinessMirror, DWIZ and the Pilipino Mirror on Tuesday. Pilipino Mirror President and Publisher D. Edgard Cabangon facilitates the forum. (Alysa Salen)


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