Gov’t drawing up maritime industry development plan

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Gov’t drawing up maritime industry development plan
Image by Alexandre Gonçalves da Rocha from Pixabay
  • The Department of Transportation has been ordered to develop the country’s maritime and aviation sectors to boost the economy and provide jobs for Filipinos
  • President Marcos ordered the DOTr to create a “maritime industry development plan” that will enhance the maritime sector, improve ports to attract more cruise ships visits and help the tourism industry
  • DOTr Undersecretary for Maritime Elmer Francisco Sarmiento said MARINA will update its 10-year Maritime Industry Development Plan “to be approved ultimately by the President”
  • DOTr was directed to focus on upgrading NAIA and to review unsolicited project proposals for existing airports and to build new ones in various areas in the country

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has ordered the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to develop the maritime and aviation sectors to boost the country’s economy and provide jobs for Filipinos, according to Officer-in-Charge Press Secretary Cheloy Garafil.

Marcos directed the DOTr to draw up a “maritime industry development plan” that will develop and enhance the maritime sector and improve ports to attract more cruise ship visits that will help boost the tourism industry, Garafil said in a press conference on October 11.

She said these orders were given by the President at the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, where DOTr presented its programs. Garafil noted transportation is one of the priority sectors of the administration.

She said Marcos also directed the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) to address issues on maritime schools, including ship boarding requirements of maritime students.

He ordered MARINA to upgrade the competencies of maritime schools and trainings “to give students advantage and put them to international standards” to ensure the country remains the top supplier of seafarers worldwide.

DOTr Undersecretary for Maritime Elmer Francisco Sarmiento told PortCalls in a text message that DOTr and MARINA will be updating the latter’s 10-year Maritime Industry Development Plan (MIDP), which will “be approved ultimately by the President.”

In a separate statement, MARINA said it has committed to the President the updating of its MIDP and its alignment to the administration’s 8-Point Priority Economic Agenda.

MARINA’s MIDP 2019-2028 – initially launched in 2017 and updated last year – is a decade-long roadmap aimed at accelerating the development of a nationally integrated and globally competitive Philippine maritime industry.

The MIDP 2019-2028 is the first comprehensive effort to understand and address the Philippine maritime sector’s core problem and its underlying causes in order to plan and implement programs that better meet the demands of the maritime industry, successfully address key challenges, and lead to seizing of opportunities in both domestic and global arenas.

Under Presidential Decree No. 474 (Maritime Industry Decree of 1974), the maritime agency should create master plans for the industry. The last 10-year roadmap drawn up by MARINA was in the 1980s.

On the aviation side, Garafil said Marcos has directed DOTr to focus on upgrading the country’s main gateway, Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), to “address the increasing demand” of travelers.

Marcos also ordered a review of unsolicited project proposals for existing airports and to build new ones in various areas of the country.

DOTr had earlier said it eyeing private sector participation in rehabilitating NAIA.

On October 10, Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista told media forum that nine ongoing regional airport projects worth close to P1 trillion are set for completion in 2023. He said there are 10 other regional airports that the DOTr plans to upgrade, expand, and operate under the public-private partnership scheme, as well as four regional airports that the agency plans to build. – Roumina Pablo