Senate bill provides ‘one-stop shop’ centers for Filipino seafarers

January 29, 2014 11:59 pm 

By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, Jan. 29 (PNA) – Senate President Franklin Drilon said on Wednesday a Senate bill he authored would provide ‘one-stop shop’ centers for the Filipino seafarers applying for documents, specifically the certificates of competency and proficiency.

”Yes, it will be a one-stop shop,” Drilon answered Senator Grace Poe during plenary debates on Senate Bill No. 2043 or “An Act Establishing the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) as the single maritime administration responsible for the implementation and enforcement of the International Convention on the Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for seafarers, as amended, and International Agreements or Covenants Related Thereto.”

”There will be one building where the documents, particularly the certificate of competency and certificate of proficiency will be processed,” Drilon added.

Drilon said even the hospitals where the seafarers get their medical certificates should be accredited by the MARINA.

The Senate president emphasized the importance for the Philippines to adhere to the 1978 International Convention on the standards of training, certification and watchkeeping.

”Unless we address this concerns, economic groups like the European Union can ban our seafarers and it will affect 380,000 Filipino seafarers and will result to five billion dollars lost to our economy,” Drilon warned.

Under the proposed measure, MARINA shall ensure that the examination, licensing and certification system for marine deck and engine officers are in accordance with requirements prescribed under the international convention.

”MARINA shall adopt rules and regulations in accordance with the international convention,” Drilon said.

Like Drilon, Poe said the legislation is particularly significant considering that the Philippines is the most important source of seafarers in the global shipping and in the transport market.

”The Filipino seafarers are often recruited to man tankers and sea vessels, including those highly reputable manning companies from Denmark, Japan, Greece, Jamaica, Malta, Singapore and Germany,” Poe said.

Poe said 27 percent of the 1.67 million mariners worldwide are Filipinos, the single biggest nationality bloc in the shipping industry.

”So it is important to create one-stop shop centers for documents required by a seafarer like the TIN, SSS, police clearances and of course, the Safety of Life at Sea or SOLAS,” Poe said.

Poe also urged Drilon to make sure that seafarers are well represented in the Maritime Industry Board.

Drilon said the seafarers as well as the shipowners have representatives to the board. (PNA)



Comments are closed.