COTABATO CITY: The Ministry of Transportation and Communications of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (MoTC-BARMM) finally resolved the leadership confusion of the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi.
Using a diplomatic yet tough stance, the chief of the MoTC-BARMM stepped into the issue to resolve once and for all the nagging problems.
“The confusion of leadership in this office has to stop,” MoTC Minister Dickson Hermoso told Marina officials in a meeting that resolved over three years of confusion as to who is the real chief of Marina-Tawi-Tawi.
“No one assumes office without any proper legal authority that comes from the BARMM interim chief minister himself, and without my concurrence as the minister of transportation and communications,” Hermoso emphasized.
Hermoso, a former Army general and a peace advocate, first conducted an ocular inspection and stepped into Marina office in Bongao.
Alonto Sahiron, Marina-BARMM officer in charge (OIC), said Hermoso resolved what previous regional officials failed to address.
“This ocular visit of Minister Hermoso has settled, once and for all, the issues on bogus personnel pretending to be employees who are actually not connected with Marina-BARMM,” Sahiron said.
There are others who also claimed to be employees of other agencies, but records show otherwise, which affected the operation of Marina.
“Boat owners are confused on whom to get the real permit to operate,” Sahiron said, adding that all types of sea vessels regardless of tonnage were obliged to register and be recognized by Marina-BARMM.
All motor vessels — small wooden bancas, and medium sized or large passenger and cargo container ships — must be registered with Marina.
Minister Hermoso said Marina and the Regional Ports Management Authority (RPMA) should be working together as public servants to monitor each vessel plying and docking along the seas and rivers within the BARMM area of responsibility.
Gary Abbas, regional OIC of RPMA, said the region had no major problem other than congestion in seaports.
Due to improved economic activities in the BARMM, more and more sea vessels are coming over regional ports, and RPMA claimed not all ports could be accommodated.
Abbas reported to Hermoso the Bongao and Jolo ports are under renovations to be able to handle bigger ships to make it as an international hub.
“Soon these ports will be able to accommodate international cargos and passenger ships from neighboring Asian countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, particularly from Sabah and Brunei,” he said.