Backlog in COP issuance attributable to 3 causes

January 23, 2014 8:54 am 

MANILA, Jan. 22 — Philippine Merchant Marine Academy Alumni Association, Inc. (PMMAAAI) president Gaudencio Morales attributed the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA)'s current backlog in the issuance of Certificate of Proficiencies (COPs) to three main constraints.

These are lack of manpower, office space and computer hardware.

The problems surfaced during a recent meeting with MARINA administrator Maximo Mejia, Jr., Angkla partylist representative Jesus Manalo, Joint Manning Group (JMG)representative Eric Marquez and Capt. Ronald Enrile, another stalwart of the above-mentioned partylist.

"All of the above falls on 'budgetary constraints and if we, ex-seafarers who are now in the seafaring related will wait for the bureaucratic procedure that MARINA must do finance the said constraints, many more seafarers will suffer inconvenience and delay of COP issuance," Morales said.

He also added that prior their meeting, Mejia earlier told him that MARINA intends to use the vacant 7th floor of the building the agency is presently occupying to redress the office space constraint.

The latter building is near T.M. Kalaw and Adamson University in Manila.

But this did not come to fruit as safety officers expressed their concern about the structural strength of the 7th floor and therefore the safety of the seafarers will be at risk considering the bulk of applicants daily.

And on manpower constraints, Morales said Mejia announced of his intentions to utilize all available MARINA staff in the STCW Department which will be augmented by at least one personnel from every regional office for a total 20 to 25.

"The jobs of these persons will be just the processing of COPs and other STCW related job. It will then be an OJT (on-job-training) chance for the personnel from (the) regional offices, and when they are already enhanced with COP processing, they will return to their respective offices so that COP application for our seafarers can also be done in their respective regions," the PMMAAAI chief narrated.

And while Mejia appreciates offers of some sectors to provide volunteer staff for the above-mentioned task, the MARNA chief was forced to decline this assistance as the former expressed his desire to avoid "conflict of interest" issue, a matter raised by the European Maritime Safety Agency during its October audit.

The same issue is also preventing MARINA from acting on the offers of Angkla, JMG, and PMMAAAI of free office space.

Morales added that when the JMG proposed that MARINA employ temporary qualified staff, those salary will be footed by the group, to minimize the COP backlog, the MARINA chief gave no clear reaction to the proposal as the agency is considering to expedite the accreditation of liaison officers from the manning companies so that the COPs of on board seafarers will be submitted to the latter for processing and accreditation.

And on the matter of computer hardware shortages, Morales said that the PMMAAAI and JMG pledged to donate around 20 computer sets, 15 printers, and 10 scanners.

However, it was not known on whether MARINA will accept these donations as doing so could constitute "conflict of interest". (PNA)

FPV/PFN/UTB

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