The government needs to “accelerate the integrated development of the maritime industry in the country,” the head of planning administration for the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) said at a recent conference to roll a new roadmap for the industry.
Primo Siosana, officer-in-charge of the Marina planning administration, said that for the attainment of the goals, a Maritime Industry Development Program (MIDP) defining “practicable and coordinated governmental efforts which shall cover, among others, the early replacement of obsolescent and uneconomic vessels; the modernization and expansion of the Philippine merchant fleet and the enhancement of domestic capability for shipbuilding,” would be pursued.
This includes the repair, maintenance, and recycling of ships and the development of a reservoir of trained manpower as well as matters relating to the ports, the protection of marine resources, and other equally important sectors.
Siosana said, “The last MIDP was formulated in 1982, more than 3 decades ago. The maritime industry plans and programs are crafted based on the priority agenda of the President as spelled out under the Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan (PDP).”
The PDP is anchored on a national long-term vision or AMBISYON NATIN 2040, which “represents the collective vision and aspirations of Filipinos for themselves and for the country.”
In support of the Duterte administration’s 10-point socio-economic agenda, the Marina intends to come up with a roadmap with the maritime industry by bringing together government agencies performing maritime-related functions and the other industry stakeholders in the formulation of the MIDP.
Siosana said that the “undertaking shall involve the participation of government and private stakeholders as the
MIDP shall become the blueprint in the integrated development of the maritime industry.”
The maritime sector is a vibrant sector of businesses and organizations dependent on ocean-related commerce and the economy is interlinked with the maritime economy, hence the need for the coordinated and integrated MIDP.
Siosana said that Marina would proceed with the roadmapping and scoping in the next three to four months after the formulation of the MIDP.
Section 5 of Presidential Decree (P.D.) 474 states that the Authority shall prepare and annually update a 10-year MIDP, which shall contain a rational and integrated development plan for the maritime industry. Marina shall submit the same for the approval by the President.
Marina Administrator Marcial Amaro III said that upon approval of the program by the President, all government departments, bureaus, agencies, and instrumentalities shall implement the same within their respective jurisdictions.
The authority shall ensure that the program is being effectively implemented by the participating agencies.
No government body or instrumentality shall adopt a policy or take a course of action contrary to or inconsistent with the program.
Amaro said, “Probably this is the first time that we see this part of the mandate of the MARINA.”
Based on the recent Philippine island measurement project, a special project conducted by the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority, the country is the 10th largest archipelago in the world covering an area of 150,831 square miles.
The Philippines is likewise home to large shipyards such as Hanjin and Keppel. The country ranked as the world’s fourth biggest shipbuilding nation in terms of book order capacity next to China, South Korea, and Japan.
Marina statistics recorded 33,000 Filipino seafarers deployed in 1975. The country had 695,742 seafarers in 2016 contributing $5.57 billion (P275 billion) in remittances.
Amaro said that the seafarers’ remittances “provides government funds to finance development projects, and more importantly supports families by enabling their children to be sent to school and meet their ever growing necessities of everyday living.”
Felipe A. Judan is the appointed Department of Transportation (DoTr) undersecretary, with the direct oversight of the country’s maritime sector.
Judan is to manage and oversee five agencies under the DoTr: Marina, Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), Cebu Ports Authority (CPA), and the Philippine Merchant Marine Academy (PMMA).
The undersecretary, who joined government from the private sector, where he was formerly Chief Operating Officer of The Southwest Maritime Group of Companies. Over a 43-year successful career, Judan has held various key industry positions (in shipping, logistics, construction, and footwear manufacturing).
“I am elated by your attendance today. Your presence demonstrates the importance of the work we do for the Philippine maritime industry,” Judan told the conference attendees.
“Just to let you know, even President Duterte, in his heart always mentions the commitment and support for the promotion and development of the maritime industry when he was running for the presidency, “ added Judan.
Judan thanked the former Marina administrator, SM Prime Holdings VP Len Bautista-Horn, who served in the position free of charge to the government.
“Let us buckle down and deliver what is expected of us. I call on the officials particularly on the Marina to serve our people, our industry with professionalism, integrity and efficiency,” added Judan.