• Maritime schools upgrade sought

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    AN uninterrupted upgrading of Philippine maritime schools has been proposed by House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. in light of the looming audit to be conducted by the European Union this October.

    Belmonte underscored that passing the EU audit would save the jobs of at least 80,000 Filipino seafarers who are employed in European-flagged commercial vessels.

    “Let us do everything we can to pass [the audit]. Whatever is necessary, our concerned government agencies must be ready to implement the reforms, and part of it is to upgrade the schools,” Belmonte said on Sunday.

    Rep. Rodel Batocabe of Ako Bicol party-list agreed with Belmonte, saying that the Philippine government should build on the diligence of Filipino seafarers.

    “Faced with sanctions from EU, I have no doubt we would rise to the challenge. Filipino seafarers are unparalleled in terms of skills and competence,” Batocabe added.

    Earlier, the German Shipowners’ Association has warned Filipino seafarers that they run the risk of losing their jobs in EU-registered ships if the Philippine government fails to pass the EU maritime audit.

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