By Lorenz S. Marasigan, December 14 2018; Business Mirror


Image Credit to Maritime Industry Authority

The maritime sector would have to shell out a whopping P94.57 billion over the next decade to ensure that the industry will grow exponentially and reclaim its title as a global maritime hub, a document from the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) showed.

Under the draft Maritime Industry Development Plan (MIDP), a 10-year blueprint that spells out the needs, goals, and challenges of the whole maritime industry, the government and the private sector will have to jointly shell out the amount through 2028.

The amount is broken down into eight components, namely: upgrading of domestic shipping in support of the nautical highway development (P45.15 billion); development of shipping services for maritime tourism (P147 million); development of coastal and inland waterways transport system (P2.64 billion); strengthening of safety operations of registered fishing vessels (P75 million); development of a global maritime hub (P45.73 billion); enhancement of maritime safety in the Philippines (P149 million); modernization of maritime security in the Philippines (P83 million); and establishment of maritime innovation and knowledge center (P599 million).

The private sector will take on 92 percent of the total cost, while the remaining 8 percent will be from regular annual appropriations and official development assistance grants or loans from development partners, such as the Japan International Cooperation Agency, Asian Development Bank and the World Bank.

According to the document, the private sector will have to take on the majority of the needed investments, as they involve the “acquisition and operation of modernized, upgraded and compliant vessels with national and international standards.”

The document noted that these costs are still estimates and will be “firmed up by Marina during the initial year” of implementation.

“In addition, the proposed lead and cooperating agencies for the program components, which include facilitation/provision of financial assistance for the private sector, will review and enhance the existing financing policies and programs of the government to be more accessible and affordable to the maritime industry members, particularly those in small- and medium-sized enterprises, in order to enable them to take part in, and benefit from, the MIDP’s priority programs,” the document read.

Local government units may also participate in the implementation of the program to “improve accessibility of their areas through acquisition of vessels and construction of terminals or landing facilities, which they can operate or rent out to the private sector for operation.”

They will be given access to funding support through the municipal development fund being administered by the Department of Finance.

The 10-year blueprint aims to accelerate achievement of nationally integrated and globally competitive maritime industry through developing and supporting an organizational culture and practice of leading in maritime education, innovation, technology and sustainability.

Marina Officer in Charge Narciso A. Vingson Jr. said the formulation of the program is a participatory process, which enabled his agency to recognize the present conditions of the maritime industry and draw up a comprehensive long-term plan for its sustainable growth and development.

“The developments and programs under the MIDP means good and positive things for the Philippine maritime industry, as the agency and all the stakeholders strive to reform, revitalize and innovate for the future,” he added.

Marina, meanwhile, bagged the “Best Regional Identification Document” award at the High
Security Printing (HSP) Asia Conference held in Hanoi, Vietnam, for its development of the Seafarer Identity Document (SID) project to be implemented early next year. It bested six competitors, including the Hong Kong ID, the new Taiwan e-Passport the new Thailand e-Passport and the new Afghanistan ID, among others, a news statement reported.

The SID project is developed in compliance with the standards of the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 185 or the Seafarers’ Identity Documents Convention 2003, as amended. Generally, the SID will provide the easy facilitation of our Filipino seafarers’ shore leave, cross border, transfer and repatriation, by doing away the stringent requirement of visa.

Initially, the SID, which complements the existing Seaman’s Identity and Records Book, is renewable every five years. Filipino seafarers can avail themselves of the benefits of SID in any of the 34 countries that have, likewise, ratified the ILO Convention 185 or the SID Convention including France, the Republic of Korea and Spain.

In its eventual implementation, the Marina will prioritize overseas Filipino seafarers in the application for the SID, but domestic Filipino seafarers may also avail themselves of such document.