THE Department of Transportation has offered strong support for the proposed National Maritime Agenda, after a meeting between members of the Movement for Maritime Philippines (MMP) and Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade last Friday.
“No twisting of arms to realize the importance of the maritime industry for an archipelagic country like the Philippines. That’s why I had to find ways to meet you,” Tugade said in welcoming the maritime advocates.
The leaders of the MMP held a meeting with the Transportation Secretary in his office on Friday, September 30 to present to him a copy of the proposed National Maritime Agenda (NMA) that will propel an integrated maritime industry as a potent player in the country’s aspiration of achieving inclusive growth.
“If there is anything at all that I can do, feel free to contact me,” the amiable DOTr Secretary told the MMP delegation.
He encouraged MMP to sustain the efforts to push for the National Maritime Agenda as a catalyst for maritime reforms, and to continue working after it submitted the NMA document to the agency. “If you have to, march to seek the support of the others to gain your objective,” he said.
Secretary Tugade’s remarks came as a shower of positive vibes to the group who were upbeat that the proposed NMA would be given careful attention by the Secretary.
The DOTr visit was the latest part of a series of carefully planned meetings of MMP with concerned government agencies to stress the importance of a genuine National Maritime Agenda, after having earlier brought the draft NMA to the attention of the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).
The MMP initiated the crafting of the NMA through several consultations with the key players of the industry, concerned government agencies, and the general public in order that their valuable inputs would become integrated with the NMA. Lead MMP Convenor Merle Jimenez-San Pedro said, “A strong and genuine commitment from the maritime stakeholders, no less, is essential to the formulation of the NMA.”
“That’s not going to be easy,” she admitted, acknowledging the diversity of interests in the maritime sector that serve as stumbling blocks to its full implementation.
The concept of an NMA has not taken off because of apparent disparate sectoral objectives. A divided maritime industry with “sporadic responses to burning issues and targets” has resulted in this valuable road map being swept under the rug through the years.
The NMA blueprint puts forward its goal for “an inclusive and sustainable socio-economic growth for the maritime industry,” under its vision of a “Philippine Maritime Industry that serves as a backbone of national progress.” For its overall strategy, it works “to harmonize the industry sectors,” and “to enforce policies to government agencies.”
Secretary Tugade approved the holding of a National Maritime Summit, assuring MMP of his full support and instructed his Chief of Staff, Atty. Tuazon, to coordinate with the group for their requirements.
Further discussions shall be held between the DOTr and the MMP to facilitate the preparations for the Maritime Summit.
The meeting with Secretary Tugade was followed by a brief exchange of views with Undersecretary Philip J udanon on the problems and concerns that continue to plague the maritime industry. Preliminarily discussions on the preparations for the Maritime Summit were also discussed.