The Philippines, through the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), is resuscitating plans to adopt the Facilitation of the International Maritime Traffic Convention of 1965, popularly known as the FAL Convention.
The PPA led the crafting of the ratification papers for the Convention in 1996 with the Philippine Coast Guard, Maritime Industry Authority, and Department of Foreign affairs, among others, but the papers have not been acted on in Congress for the past 20 years.
The FAL Convention strives to facilitate maritime transport by reducing paperwork and simplifying formalities, documentary requirements, and procedures associated with the arrival, stay, and departure of ships engaged in international voyages.
The convention was adopted by the International Conference on Facilitation of Maritime Travel and Transport on April 9, 1965 and entered into force on March 5, 1967. Currently, contracting governments to the convention number 117, with a combined merchant fleet of about 93.18% of the world’s fleet by tonnage. There are 54 member states of the IMO still to accede to the Convention, including the Philippines.
PPA general manager Jay Daniel Santiago announced the renewed plan for ratification during the three-day International Maritime Organization (IMO) seminar on facilitating international maritime traffic, co-hosted by the PPA recently.
“This IMO undertaking is highly significant for all of us in the maritime sector since its successful completion will pave the way to re-igniting the long overdue process of the Philippine ratification of the IMO FAL Convention by Congress,” Santiago stressed to stakeholders during the seminar.
“It will also help the Philippines in its commitment to fruitfully respond to the new ASEAN [Association of Southeast Asian Nations] Transport Strategic Plan or Kuala Lumpur Transport Strategic Plan 2016–2025 [KLTSP], following the success of the Brunei Action Plan 2011–2015,” Santiago said.
The KLTSP supports the vision of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) 2025 to achieve a deeply integrated and highly cohesive ASEAN economy. The plan was developed by the Task Force on the Development of Successor ASEAN Strategic Transport Plan through consultation, with inputs from the ASEAN Secretariat and all working groups and sub-working groups under the ambit of the Senior Transport Official Meeting. The KLTSP is built upon the achievements of the Brunei Action plan 2011–2015.
“PPA, as lead agency of the Port Facilitation Committee, will continually endeavor to keep its doors open in discussing varied issues and concerns in our common pursuit to further improve services in our operations for the benefit of our transacting public and clients,” Santiago said. – Roumina Pablo
Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee at FreeDigitalPhotos.net