Maritime training and education must still be improved — Gatchalian
MANILA, Philippines — The country’s training and education system for maritime workers must still be improved even with the European Union’s (EU’s) recent decision to continue recognizing certificates of Filipino seafarers, Senator Win Gatchalian said.
In a statement on Wednesday, Gatchalian said that he thanked the EU for its decision, which acknowledged the country’s efforts to improve the state of education for the maritime industry.
“I thank the European Commission for its continued recognition of Filipino seafarers’ certificates and for acknowledging the country’s efforts to improve the training of seafarers,” Gatchalian said.
“The challenge remains for the Philippines to ensure that our seafarers are globally competitive given their critical role and contribution to the economic growth of the country,” he added.
Initially, there were fears that around 50,000 seafarers working in the EU member-states were at risk of losing their jobs — and new deployments banned — as the country failed to comply with the European Maritime Safety Agency (Emsa) evaluation over the previous 16 years.
Emsa was assessing if the Philippines’ training regimen for seafarers was up to par with the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for seafarers (STCW).
But last Friday, the European Commission said that they would continue to acknowledge certificates of Filipino seafarers, saying that the Philippine government has made serious efforts to comply with the Emsa.
Currently, there are proposed measures that seek to improve the state of maritime education while protecting the welfare of seafarers. Gatchalian authored Senate Bill No. 822, or the proposed Magna Carta of Filipino Seafarers, which will outline how seafarers can remain competent by enhancing their skills through further training.
Gatchalian noted that improving the maritime training is important, as the remittances of overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in the said industry amounted to $6.54 billion, or 21 percent of all OFW remittances.
In the House of Representatives, a similar measure — House Bill No. 7325 — was passed on third and final reading last March 6, before the session adjourned for the Holy Week.