More entities register with MARINA e-processing system

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More entities register with MARINA e-processing system
  • More than 700 out of the country’s 4,000 registered maritime enterprises and entities have already applied for registration with the Maritime Industry Authority’s blockchain-enabled system for electronic processing and payment of applications
  • Over half of the 4,000 maritime enterprises and entities are banca owners
  • MARINA administrator Sonia Malaluan asked for stakeholders’ understanding as there may be birth pains in the system implementation

More than 700 out of the country’s 4,000 registered maritime enterprises and entities have already applied for registration with the Maritime Industry Authority’s (MARINA) blockchain-enabled system for electronic processing and payment of applications.

MARINA administrator Sonia Malaluan, in a media briefing on July 4, said the maritime enterprises and entities have already submitted their request for registration of their user accounts under the MARINA Blockchain-Enabled Certification System (MARINA BEST), which was officially rolled out on July 1.

MARINA Management Information and Systems Service director Joseph Victor Generato said more than half of the 4,000 maritime enterprises and entities are banca owners, who will require further assistance in registering with and using MARINA BEST. Generato said MARINA will be “going around” to assist banca owners in registering with the system.

MARINA BEST allows maritime entities, including ship owners and operators, and ship building and ship repair companies, to electronically transact all processes with the agency, from application to release of certificates, licenses, letter approvals, and documents.

The system consolidates and integrates all information systems being used by the different MARINA service units and offices. The blockchain technology secures data from unauthorized changes.

MARINA BEST covers shipyard operators, seafarers, ship owners/operators, license manning agencies, payment gateways, employees, Department of Health-accredited clinics, assessment centers, maritime training institutions, maritime higher education institutions, and other concerned government agencies.

All clients must register with the system.

While MARINA is thankful for the “enthusiasm” of stakeholders on MARINA BEST, Malaluan also asked for understanding as there may be birth pains during the initial implementation of the system and as they build an electronic database based on the submissions of stakeholders in the system.

“It will take time. But we are looking at three to six months…by that time the system would be easy peasy(it’d be like a) walk in the park. But until then, I seek the patience and understanding and support of our private stakeholders,” Malaluan said.

Prior to the launch, MARINA also issued MARINA Advisory (MA) No. 2024-28, which provides guidelines on the implementation of MARINA BEST.

Malaluan said they expect that a year after the roll out, or by July 2025, all certificates and issuances by MARINA will already be QR coded, allowing for online verification and validation. As a transitory provision, all permanent documents such as those without expiry dates issued before July 1, 2024 and without QR code will be re-issued free of charge, according to MA No. 2024-28.

Applications for issuance of CPC and other related applications are, however, not yet part of the system.

Applications for seafarers’ certification will continue to be filed online through the MARINA Integrated Seafarers Management Online (MISMO) System, which will eventually be integrated with MARINA BEST. Malaluan said they are looking at six months to integrate the data from MISMO to MARINA BEST.

The new system is part of MARINA’s broader push towards digitalizing its services.

MARINA BEST aims to enhance the agency’s online services, paving the way for contactless transactions from application to release of certificates, licenses, letter approvals, and documents. The project uses blockchain technology to keep data secured from unauthorized changes.

It is meant to provide an efficient unified information system to improve internal productivity and secure data access.

With MARINA BEST, all applications with MARINA will be online and real-time, both through a web portal or mobile, and will make use of electronic certificates, licenses, and documents. It will also allow online payment and can provide updates and tracking of applications. It can also automatically notify users of the expiration of certificates, permits, and licenses.

MARINA said the real-time status monitoring of application will significantly lead to reduced time, cost, and error. The standardization and digitalization of processes will also not only minimize the risk of fraud and data loss, but will also ensure better visibility and traceability and reduce opportunity of corruption through the entire process.

MARINA said the system will provide consistency and ensure that all processes in all regional offices have the same view and order of transactions.

Prior to the July roll-out, MARINA conducted various stakeholders’ orientation and users’ training from February to May. – Roumina Pablo