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Marina urged: Enforce law to attract investors

By: - Day Desk Editor / @dbongcac
/ 06:17 AM September 27, 2013

Development planners in Central Visayas are asking the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) to fully implement laws that will encourage new investors or players into the domestic transport industry.

Members of the Regional Development Council (RDC 7) said yesterday that the new players will encourage more competition in the shipping industry and result in better service that will benefit the public especially the visiting tourists.

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“It has been observed that the quality of services of the shipping industry is declining and is affecting the tourism industry in the region, as proven by complaints on delayed and unannounced cancellation of trips and very poor accommodations,” said a resolution approved by RDC 7 members in yesterday’s third quarter meeting at the Montebello Hotel.

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Efren Carreon, National Economic Development Authority Regional Director, said the reason for this is Marina has not fully implemented the law liberalizing the shipping industry.

Despite more shipping firms buying more ships and servicing more routes, the RDC officials are encouraging Marina to do more to encourage more players to service more routes.

Siquijor Mayor Mei Ling Quezon, who attended yesterday’s meeting, agreed.

Mayor Quezon cited the province’s problem of sea travel after Ocean Jet reduced trips to Siquijor from twice a day to just a trip a day.

“The shipping industry is very important in the Visayas. It is important that the sector be given attention because we are also promoting the tourism industry and connect the four provinces in the Visayas,” Quezon said.

Asteria Caberte, regional director of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), introduced the RDC 7’s Economic Development Committee draft resolution urging Marina to implement the laws on opening the domestic water transport industry to new operators and investors and to encourage new investments in the shipping industry in the region.”

The approved resolution included fully implementing Executive Order 185 signed in 1994, which encourages the liberalization of the sea transport industry.

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Caberte in an earlier meeting informed RDC-EDC members “that the agency (DTI) has received several inquiries from interested investors of the shipping industry particularly for routes in the region, which is seen to level up the competition of the shipping industry. Thus, resulting (result) to an improvement in shipping services.”

Labor Sector Representative Joe Tomongha of the Alliance of Progressive Labor, however, said that he fears the entry of new players in the shipping industry can kill existing players and displace their workers.

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“We have to have safety nets to protect the workers,” Tomongha said.

Caberte however assured Tomongha that the RDC will be working with the Department of Labor and Employment to make sure that safety nets will be in place to also protect the labor sector.

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