50K Filipino seafarers saved after EU nixes banning PH certs: DMW

The European Commission's (EC) decision to continue recognizing the Philippines' training and certification will directly benefit more than 50,000 Filipino seafarers, the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) said on Saturday. The EC's Directorate General for Mobility and Transport on March 31 extended its recognition of Philippine-issued seafarers certificates, saying Manila has made 'serious efforts' to address deficiencies in monitoring, supervision, and evaluation of training and assessment. DMW Secretary Susan Ople said the decision is a testimony to the leadership and political will of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. in ensuring the country's compliance with the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for seafarers (STCW). 'With this decision, a crisis of monumental proportions has just been averted,' Ople said, adding that roughly 50,000 jobs of Filipino masters and officers aboard European vessels have been saved in light of the decision. In a letter on March 31, Director General Henrik Hololei told Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) administrator Hernani Fabia that the EU Commission has assessed the actions taken by the Philippine government to address these deficiencies in the STCW Convention and Code. 'Based on the answers of the Republic of the Philippines and on all available information, the Commission has concluded that the measures taken demonstrate concrete progress and improvement as regards the compliance with the requirements of the STCW Convention,' Hololei noted. 'The outcome of the analysis allows the EU to extend the recognition of the Republic of Philippines STCW system. Nevertheless, the services of the European Commission consider that there are still issues to be addressed.' The EU official also noted that they expect the Philippine government to continue improving in other areas of the system. Hololei likewise lauded the country's officials 'for their efforts to comply with the STCW requirements and for the excellent cooperation we have had in this respect.' Ople, who is currently in Geneva, thanked the EC for recognizing the significant efforts being made by the Marcos administration to comply with the requirements under the International Convention on STCW for seafarers. 'We look forward to the start of technical cooperation between the Philippines and EC in professionalizing and further improving the skills of Filipino seafarers,' she said. Marcos last December met with the European shipowners in Brussels, which led to the creation of the International Advisory Committee on Global Maritime Affairs (IACGMA) that now offers technical advice to the DMW on seafarers' concerns. He also met with EU President Ursula von der Leyen on the margins of the EU-ASEAN Summit to discuss technical cooperation to improve the education, training, and certification system for Filipino seafarers. He further issued various directives to the DMW, the Department of Transportation (DoTr,) MARINA, and the Commission for Higher Education (CHED) on STCW compliance. 'The President has been consistent and relentless in taking up the cudgels for our Filipino seafarers,' Ople said. Meanwhile, she commended Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista for his work towards accelerating reforms in the maritime sector and in the country's roadmap to the diplomatic and business community. The EC in December 2021 notified the Philippines of several deficiencies in its seafarers' education system, prompting it to initiate the withdrawal procedure for the recognition of Philippine-issued STCW certificates for masters and officers - a decision that would have cascaded to its 27 member-states. Some of the deficiencies found are in the areas of monitoring, supervision, and evaluation of training and assessment; examination and assessment of competence; program and course design and approval; availability and use of training facilities and simulators; on-board training; and issue, revalidation, and registration of certificates and endorsements. The Philippines responded to this assessment on March 8, 2022, including details of the actions taken, referring to the six key areas. DOTr has vowed to continuously find solutions to issues raised by the EC amid the latter's recognition of the country's maritime training and certification system. Speaking at the Saturday New Forum in Quezon City, DOTr spokesman Joni Gesmundo said the department would formulate solutions to address other issues confronting the maritime sector. "As the EC lauded our cooperation and welcomed our efforts at improving the Philippine system of training and certifying Filipino seafarers, we commit to address the remaining areas identified by EC that require further improvement," Bautista said

Source: Philippines News Agency

Recent Posts