Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Saturday urged leaders of the country’s maritime industry to explore new routes to open more economic opportunities not just for the industry but for the entire country as well.
“I encourage all of you to study the possibility of opening new routes for our ships to speed up the freight delivery,” said Go in a speech before the Mindanao Maritime Industry Forum held in Davao City.
He also urged the industry to streamline the processes to cut down the travel time of people and transfer of cargo to other islands in the country and abroad.
Improvement in maritime travel will spur our nation’s development, according to Go.
“Among other things, we can encourage the growth of tourism and hasten the progress in different parts of the country,” he added.
The forum, held on the eve of the celebration of the National Seafarer’s Day (NSD), highlighted maritime industry development with particular focus in Mindanao. The main areas of discussion centered on maritime safety, security and environmental protection.
Presidential Proclamation 886 declared the last Friday of September every year as the National Maritime Day. Meanwhile, Proclamation 1094 series of 1997 declared every last Sunday of September of every year as NSD.
Go was instrumental in the issuance of another presidential directive for the benefit of the maritime industry, specifically Executive Order 63 signed by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on 21 September 2018.
Improvement in maritime travel will spur our nation’s development.
The order strengthened the authority of the Marine Industry Authority as the single maritime administration, ensuring the obligations of the Philippines under the 1978 International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) for Seafarers.
Duterte’s order addresses the possibility of a ban on Filipino seafarers by vessels from the European Union (EU) over the failure of many local maritime training schools in passing the European Maritime Safety Agency review on STCW compliance.
Maritime industry estimates of the 350,000 Filipino seafarers on board foreign vessel, around 80,000 are on EU-owned vessels.
Go assured the seafarers that the government is ready to allot more funds for infrastructure projects meant for the benefit of the maritime industry.
Meanwhile, Go also encouraged the seafarers to put their full trust and support the three-point campaign against corruption, crime and illegal drugs of the Duterte administration to ensure the safety of investments and businesses.