Philippines to comply with European maritime safety standards

The Philippine Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) is expected to comply with the standards set by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) as it started implementing corrective actions on EMSA’s 2017 audit findings on the Philippine maritime education, training, and certification systems.

MARINA is set to present proof of their compliance to EMSA, which include supportive legislation, inter-agency cooperation, responsive national provision, and good governance measures on the administration of maritime education and training programs, assessment of competence, and issuance of International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watch keeping for Seafarers or STCW certifications.

“The pieces of evidence that we will present to the European Commission (EC) are testament of MARINA’s proactive approach on the issues confronting the Philippine maritime industry,” said MARINA Administrator Rey Leonardo Guerrero.

Guerrero said these measures would address the areas for improvement emphasized by the European Commission (EC) in terms of national provision, maritime administration, requirements for certification, as well as maritime education and training institution in the Philippines.

A part of the major actions by MARINA is the extensive review and revision of seven existing national provisions and the development of six training course packages which are ready for implementation.

Another essential part of the report is President Rodrigo Duterte’s issuance of Executive Order (EO) No. 63 that further strengthens the authority of the MARINA as the single maritime administration, particularly in the implementation of the 1978 International Convention on STCW.

Guerrero said the executive order is a manifestation of national support, which harmonizes the administration of maritime education programs and fostering inter-agency cooperation framework among various government agencies such as the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Department of Health (DOH), and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

“MARINA is doing the final works for the launching of an integrated information technology (IT) system to be known as the MARINA Integrated Seafarer Management Online (MISMO) system, a digital platform that will integrate the agency’s services and processes online.”

The major features of MISMO include the online issuance of seaman’s book, online payment and processing for assessment and certifications, internal quality management control system in the implementation of maritime education and training programs, as well as online verification to ensure authenticity of seafarer-related documents issued by the Philippine government.

Philippines to ease restrictions on foreign investments

The Philippine government is preparing to ease restrictions on foreign investments to further boost the domestic economy.

In a recent briefing attended by British businessmen in London, Socio-economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said the government is looking at easing foreign restrictions in private recruitment for local and overseas employment, practice of select professions, construction and repair of public works projects, culture, production, milling, processing and trading of rice and corn, teaching at higher education levels, and retail trade.

“Compared with our neighbours, the Philippines is the most restrictive in terms of foreign direct investments. We have many negative-listed investment areas and activities, meaning that there is a high restrictive wall on the participation of foreign investors,” said Secretary Pernia.

Secretary Pernia stressed that the Philippine economy has been growing by an average of 6.4 percent in the last eight years, the strongest since the mid-1970s. For the first half of 2018, the economy grew by 6.3 percent.

“And aside from consistently high economic growth, the Philippine economy rests on three strengths –   it is investment driven, high total factor productivity at 3 percent, the highest in ASEAN, and we are experiencing a resurgence in the manufacturing sector,” Pernia added.

Pernia likewise emphasized that the government is focusing on connecting the country’s islands through aggressive infrastructure development.

“We are determined to close the infrastructure gap, create more jobs, and reduce inequality across regions and households,” he added.

NEDA vows to help typhoon-hit areas

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has pledged to help the communities affected by the recent typhoons that hit the Philippines.

 

Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Pernia says the declaration of a state of calamity in the affected areas enable the government to use contingent credit lines and mitigate rising inflation.

 

President Rodrigo Duterte signed on Thursday Proclamation Number 593 s. 2018, declaring a State of Calamity in Regions I, II, III and the Cordillera Administrative Region.

 

Areas declared as state of calamity would provide a basis for price control measures that can mitigate the economic impact on affected populations. It will also effectively provide the government ample leeway in utilizing funds for recovery and rehabilitation efforts, as well as delivery of basic needs and services.

 

The proclamation would also hasten the rescue, recovery, relief, and rehabilitation efforts of the government and the private sector, including any international humanitarian assistance.

 

Among the matters considered in the recommendation for the declaration of state of calamity were the human casualties and effects on livelihood, roads and bridges, agricultural products, and lifelines, including electricity, potable water system, transport, communications and other related systems, brought by the recent disaster.