House Deputy Speaker Mujiv Hataman, former governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, said MARINA officer-in-charge Narciso Vingson Jr. revealed the plan during the Maritime Safety Summit in Manila on Aug. 30.
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Marina mulls phaseout of wooden-hulled boats
Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) - September 3, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) is planning to phase out wooden-hulled boats, which comprise 80 percent of the country’s sea-going vessels.

House Deputy Speaker Mujiv Hataman, former governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, said MARINA officer-in-charge Narciso Vingson Jr. revealed the plan during the Maritime Safety Summit in Manila on Aug. 30.

Hataman, who represents Basilan, expressed fears the plan could lead to ceasing the registration of all wooden-hulled boats, including passenger and fishing vessels.

“While we recognize the need to improve safety at sea for our passenger craft and fishing boats, we would like to point out that 80 percent of the 7,000 registered ships in the country are wooden-hulled, as the Marina itself knows,” Hataman said. 

He urged the Department of Transportation and the MARINA to defer the implementation of an order stopping all registration of new wooden-hulled passenger boats and conduct a public consultation on the matter. 

Hataman said the plan would affect a majority of Filipinos, especially those living along the coastal provinces who depend on the boat-making industry, island-to-island transportation and fishing. 

“Let’s not rush into this. Have they even consulted all the stakeholders concerned? I believe delaying it is best until a public consultation is conducted. In Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi alone, I know the livelihood of many people will be severely affected,” he said.?“If this is true, then it will also affect the fisherfolk not just in Mindanao, but also in Luzon and the Visayas who are subsistence fishers,” he added.

Hataman said the plan would also affect small bussinessmen who operate island-to-island transport all over the archipelago. 

The MARINA said they have support mechanisms readied to help the affected sectors. 

Hataman said the agency has yet to provide details about the assistance they will be offering, although it has started refusing to register wooded-hulled vessels in the past two weeks. 

“I don’t think these people can afford to buy fiberglass boats, which price ranges between P5 million to P8 million based on the estimates provided by MARINA itself. How much more the steel-hulled vessels? Our poor fishermen will be at the losing end,” he said. 

“Most people in Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi have been depending on the sea for their livelihood. The sea is part of our history as a people, and our people – especially those who call Tawi-Tawi their home – have been making wooden boats for centuries, even before the existence of the Philippines as a country,” Hataman said.

“We are urging the DOTr to carefully review the implementation of this planned phaseout. We would like to know the alternatives they have for our fisherfolk and ferry operators,” he added. 

MARITIME INDUSTRY AUTHORITY WOODEN-HULLED BOATS
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