Threat of withdrawal getting thinner
Marina administrator Maximo Mejia Jr. firmly believes the European Maritime Safety Agency (Emsa) will not withdraw their recognition of the Philippine maritime industry, despite reports that our country did not pass the last Emsa audit, which was done over the past year.
In an interview with Radyo Inquirer DzIQ 990 AM, Mejia said the government has taken a great step already and is moving forward, starting in 2012 up to the present.
Transportation Secretary Emilio Abaya and Mejia went to Brussels, Belgium, in October 2013 and presented the new law regarding the maritime reforms of the Philippines to the European Commission.
They represented over 400,000 seafarers and the full authority of President Aquino himself.
Mejia happily told us that the vice president of the European Commission was impressed with the reform and political will of our government, and assured them that they will continue to recognize our Filipino seafarers until they get their full recognition as a final result on the Emsa audit, which will be conducted on Sept. 30 by the inspection team of Emsa.
Mejia said Marina is still on a transition period after it was designated as a Single Maritime Administration on March 13 when President Aquino signed Republic Act No. 10635 for the Standards of Training Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) Convention.
President Aquino is set to visit the European Commission in Belgium to meet with some of the Emsa officials and to show that our country is serious about our maritime reforms.
Mejia added that this is a positive news on the maritime industry because the threat of withdrawal of our recognition is getting thinner and a confirmation that their efforts are continuously escalating and not moving backward.
Meanwhile, Captains Rodolfo Aspillaga and Edwin Itable, president and vice president of Masters and Mates Association of the Philippines (MMAP), echoed their appeal to President Aquino, in behalf of our Filipino seafarers, that his visit would mean a lot for the industry, to show that the Philippine government is taking the issue very seriously to get the nod of the Emsa.
MMAP officials also added that they are in full support of the government programs for our seafarers’ welfare.
When Bantay OCW asked if there is still a long queue in Marina for securing the Certificate of Proficiency (COP), Mejia gladly reported that, effective Sept. 3, they have been of service from 5:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
According to him, their funds for processing ran out, causing long queues in securing said certificate. The COP can also be processed and secured in the regions of Cebu, Iloilo, Tacloban and Davao.
Mejia also reported that the Seafarer’s Identification and Record Book (SIRB) processing has also gone back to normal. Marina also has no more backlog because they only had disruption of supply the past few months. He is also calling out for the 12,000 seafarers who may already claim their seaman’s books.
Susan Andes, aka Susan K., is heard over Radyo Inquirer dzIQ 990 AM, Mondays to Fridays, 10:30 a.m to 12:00 noon. Livestream: www.ustream.tv/channel/ dziq
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