Home » Maritime » PISA pushes immediate passage of Omnibus Maritime Code

THE Philippine Interisland Shipping Association PISA), an umbrella organization of local shipping lines, is batting for the immediate passage of the Omnibus Maritime Code that will overhaul the country’s maritime industry and harmonize legislation.

“We are strongly lobbying for the passage of the code as it will reorganize everything and address critical issues that have been dragging the industry for the past couple of decades,” PISA chair Daniel Lacson said.

PISA said the code covers everything in the maritime industry from organization, the justice system, and infrastructure vital for the development of the industry to incentives to shipping lines that will help them refleet.

The code is pending with the House of Representatives Transport Committee headed by Representative Monico Puentevella.

Lacson said existing laws, including the Republic Act 9295 or the Domestic Shipping Act of 2004, have failed to revitalize the industry. Conditions, he added, have remained practically the same for decades except for the deregulated rate environment.

“The code will serve as the bible of the maritime industry as to what infrastructure is needed, the incentives to be given to operators, safety standards to comply with and many more,” Lacson said.

“However, such code should be benchmarked with maritime powerhouses such as Japan and Norway in order to succeed… (there’s no need to) reinvent…,” he added.

Lacson said they will seek an audience with other industry stakeholders to push the immediate passage of the bill.

Puentevella said his committee should have approved the bill before the holidays but hit a snag when Transportation undersecretary Elena Bautista asked for a hearing postponement to give her time to finish the government proposal.

“I want to pass it (code) right away since it has been pending for a long, long time,” Puentevella said. “However, the ball is not in my hands anymore. Stakeholders should instead push the DOTC (Department of Transportation and Communications) … so that we could buckle down to business,” Puentevella pointed out in an event sponsored by PISA late last month.

Government has identified eight priority projects which DOTC intends to undertake to revitalize the stagnant maritime industry. These are maritime manpower, maritime administration, port administration, maritime environmental protection, safety and security, shipbuilding and ship repair, trade liberalization and facilitation, and legal review.

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