Four key agencies of government have joined forces to ensure Filipino seafarers remain competitive globally.

Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chairman J. Prospero E. De Vera III together with officials from the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), Department of Health (DOH) and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) recently signed the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Executive Order (EO) 63 or the “Further Strengthening the Authority of the Maritime Industry Authority as a Single Maritime Administration for the Purpose of Implementing the 1978 International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW Convention) for Seafarers, as Amended,” to seal this new collaborative undertaking.

EO 63 was signed by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on September 21, 2018.

CHED Chairman Dr. J. Prospero E. De Vera III (5th from left) signed the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Executive Order (EO) 63 on October 23. Also present during the signing were (2nd and 3rd from left) CHED OIC-Executive Director Atty. Cinderella Filipina S. Benitez-Jaro and Commissioner Dr. Ronald L. Adamat and officials from MARINA, DOH and PCG.

 

Aside from strengthening of the MARINA as the country’s single maritime administration, the IRR provides guidelines in the evaluation of requests for approval of the Bachelor of Science in Marine Transportation and Bachelor of Science in Marine Engineering programs, and other programs that will be developed and will require compliance with STCW Convention.

In his remarks, CHED Chairman De Vera reiterated the Commission’s commitment to comply with STCW Convention, which can be attained through concerted efforts of government agencies.

“CHED and MARINA agreed to jointly exercise supervision of maritime higher education institutions (MHEIs), with MARINA leading the review and inspection of requests for government authority as well as in the monitoring and evaluation of existing MHEIs, which are now operationally possible by virtue of the provision of EO 63,” Chairman De Vera said.

“The policy of the Duterte Administration for agencies to work together to solve problems made it possible for CHED and MARINA to sit down and harness their respective strengths. This IRR is the product of this governmental approach,” De Vera added.

Philippine maritime education programs have been under scrutiny for some time now due to the concerns raised by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) on compliance to the STCW Convention. The EMSA is the arm of the European Commission that ensures that countries involved in seafaring comply with the policies of the European Union on maritime safety.

“Rest assured that CHED will work closely with MARINA to ensure the implementation of the STCW Convention as amended so that the country remains in the white list of countries eligible to supply qualified and competent seafarers to the world seaborne trade,” adds De Vera.

Then MARINA Administrator Rey Leonardo B. Guerrero, Philippine Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Elson E. Hermogino and Department of Health’s Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement Division Chief Atty. Rodel C. Flores also shared their commitment to the implementation of EO 63.

The EO also directed CHED to reconstitute the Technical Panel on Maritime Education (TPME). The new members were sworn-in on October 9.

Prior to the signing of the IRR, CHED and MARINA already signed the Joint CHED-MARINA Memorandum Circular No. 1 on July 10. The said guidelines outline four important areas of collaboration: (1) qualifications and composition of the monitoring team; (2) key areas of evaluation; (3) conduct of monitoring and evaluation of findings; and (4) reporting and appeal procedures.

(signed)
J. PROSPERO E. DE VERA III, DPA
Chairman and Spokesperson
Commission on Higher Education

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