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Marcos vows to fix maritime issues after UK reaffirmed recognition of Pinoy sailors

Marcos vows to fix maritime issues after UK reaffirmed recognition of Pinoy sailors

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Sunday said that the government would provide solutions to the problems hounding the maritime industry in order for the Philippines to continue to produce quality seafarers.

Marcos made the remark after the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, announced that it will continue to recognize the certificates issued for seafarers by the Philippines.

“Gagawin natin ang lahat upang mabigyan natin ng solusyon ang mga isyung kinakaharap ng ating maritime industry upang patuloy tayong mag-develop ng mga world-class at magagaling na seafarers para sa buong mundo,” he said in a statement.

(We will do everything we can to address the issues facing our maritime industry so that we can continue to develop world-class and excellent seafarers for the whole world.)

Earlier, the EU warned that Filipino maritime workers may be banned from its vessels following the country’s repeated failure to hurdle the European Maritime Safety Agency’s (EMSA) evaluation for  the past 16 years.

Marcos welcomed this development, recalling his visit in Brussels, Belgium wherein he met with EU President Ursula von der Leyen on the sidelines of the EU-ASEAN Summit on technical cooperation to improve the education, training, and certification system for Filipino seafarers.

“Ang naturang problema ay 15 taon nang kinakaharap ng ating seafarers kaya ito agad ang ating tinutukan noong tayo’y pumunta sa Brussels noong Disyembre upang makipagkita sa presidente ng EU na si Ursula von der Leyen. Dahil dito, ang panganib na mawawalan ng trabaho ang 50,000 nating seafarers ay ating napigilan,” he said.

(For 15 years, Filipino seafarers have wrestling with this problem, that’s why we focused on this when we went to Brussels last December to meet with the EU president Ursula von der Leyen. Because of this, we have avoided the possibility of 50,000 Pinoy sailors losing their jobs.)

Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista on Saturday said more than 49,000 Filipino marine officers and their families in the Philippines will gain from the EU decision.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) meanwhile also welcomed the decision to recognize the certificates issued to Filipino seafarers.

"The DFA notes that the extension comes with conditions for the PH to meet and comply with its commitments to improve the process and implementation of the  Philippine maritime education, training and certification (METC) system.  The Philippines has viewed the inspections, verifications and evaluations conducted by the European Commission, through the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), constructively, and is firm in its commitment to meet the same, mindful that these are in the interest of ensuring the best possible conditions for Philippine seafarers looking to serve on EU flag vessels," it said in a statement issued Saturday.

"The Philippines appreciates the continued engagement and the offer of technical assistance from the European Commission in helping ensure that the challenges in the implementation of the STCW Convention 1978, as amended, can be overcome," the DFA added.

"The Philippine Government will continue to work towards elevating the METC system to the highest standard, and ensure the best possible employment opportunities for Filipino seafarers, on domestic or foreign flag vessels," it said.

Migrant Workers Secretary Susan Ople on Saturday lauded the EU’s decision and said “a crisis of monumental proportions has just been averted." —LBG/KG, GMA Integrated News