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‘Time to prioritize maritime industry’

Helen Flores - The Philippine Star
�Time to prioritize maritime industry�
Speaking at the Philippine Maritime Industry Summit 2023 at the Manila Hotel yesterday, Marcos said the Philippines is the world’s primary source of maritime manpower, constituting 25 percent of the global seafarers and bringing a total of $6.71 billion in remittances in 2022.
AFP / STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — Citing the significant contribution of Filipino seafarers to the economy, President Marcos has committed to make the maritime sector a priority of his administration.

Speaking at the Philippine Maritime Industry Summit 2023 at the Manila Hotel yesterday, Marcos said the Philippines is the world’s primary source of maritime manpower, constituting 25 percent of the global seafarers and bringing a total of $6.71 billion in remittances in 2022.

“With that being said, I laud the commitment of our Filipino seafarers to bring honor and pride once again to our country. They do this by providing quality service across the globe and contributing to our nation-building efforts,” the President said.

“Given that the Philippines is a maritime nation, I believe that it is time for us to make the maritime industry once again a top priority,” he said.

Marcos, however, said while the Philippines holds a dominant position in the world of global shipping, the government “can do more” to develop a stronger domestic maritime industry for the benefit of Filipinos.

“We already hold the most vital ingredient to success – which is our seafarers. All we need to do now is to ensure that we harness their knowledge, make use of their experience and mobilize our local industries to build an even stronger domestic maritime industry for the benefit of our people,” he said.

“So, I encourage all government institutions and key stakeholders to collaborate, to cooperate to ensure the continued growth and development of this extremely important sector,” the Chief Executive said.

Marcos also lauded the Department of Transportation and the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) for the formulation of the Maritime Industry Development Plan or MIDP for 2028, which aims to make the country’s maritime industry even more globally competitive.

He said that through this development plan, the Philippines would be able to ensure the development and expansion of the Philippine merchant fleet, as well as the advancement of a future-ready maritime human capital.

The plan covers eight priority programs ranging from enhancing maritime transport safety and security, promoting environmental sustainability, implementing digitalization; modernizing, upgrading and expanding domestic and overseas shipping industries, including the local shipbuilding and ship repair industry; promoting a highly skilled and competitive maritime workforce and adopting an effective and efficient maritime administration governance system, the President said.

“I also urge all concerned agencies to pursue a whole-of-government approach to effectively implement the MIDP 2028 as well as to continue communicating with member-states of the International Maritime Organization and the European Union-Committee on Safe Seas,” he said.

As of Dec. 31, 2022, there were nearly 16,000 registered domestic ships plying the nearly 1,300 inter-island shipping routes across the country, Marcos said.

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