By Prince Golez
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Sunday said he was “happy” with the European Commission’s decision to extend its recognition of the Philippine maritime training and certification system.
“Labis kong ikinagagalak na nabigyan ng extension ng European Commission ang ating mga seafarers sa kanilang certification upang patuloy silang makapagtrabaho,” Marcos Jr. said in a statement.
The President claimed that his December trip to Brussels, where he met with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, saved the jobs of around 50,000 Filipino seafarers.
“Ang naturang problema ay 15 taon ang kinakaharap ng ating mga seafarers kaya ito agad ang ating tinutukan noong tayo’y pumunta sa Brussels noong Disyembre upang makipagkita sa presidente ng EU na si Ursula von der Leyen,” according to him.
“Dahil dito, ang panganib na mawawalan ng trabaho ang 50,000 nating seafarers ay ating napigilan,” he added.
Marcos Jr. also assured that his administration will do everything possible to resolve the issues facing the country’s maritime industry.
“Gagawin natin ang lahat upang mabigyan natin ng solusyon ang mga isyung kinakaharap ng ating maritime industry upang patuloy tayong mag-develop ng mga world-class at magagaling na seafarers para sa buong mundo,” he said.
In a March 31 letter addrssed to Maritime Industry Authority administrator Hernani Fabia, European Commission’s Director-General for Mobility and Transport Henrik Hololei said the EU Commission has assessed the actions taken by the Philippines to address its deficiencies in the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (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,” said Hololei.
“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 added.