PH stakeholders support house bills on maritime safety conventions


Various stakeholders voiced their support for two bills that seek to implement protocols on maritime safety, security and pollution prevention during initial deliberations on the measures at the Philippine Lower House Committee on Transportation on August 15.

The bills are House Bill No. 456 authored by Angkla Party-list Representative Jesulito Manalo, and House Bill No. 1286 by Representative Teddy Baguilat.

Manalo’s bill will provide for a maritime code that will implement five conventions under the International Maritime Organization (IMO), to which the country is a signatory: The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974; The International Convention for the Prevention and Pollution from Ships, 1973 as amended by the Protocol of 1978; The Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972; The International Convention on Load Lines, 1966; and the International Convention on the Tonnage Measurement of Ships, 1969.

Baguilat was not at the deliberations to discuss his bill.

In his sponsorship speech, Manalo called for the regulation and enforcement of maritime conventions so the country can be globally compliant and therefore globally competitive.

A technical working group will be created to come up with recommendations on Manalo’s bill. The group will also try to harmonize regulatory functions of the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

Manalo’s bill appoints MARINA as the only government agency that will oversee implementation of and adherence to international conventions. Under present rules, there are crisscrossing functions between MARINA and PCG, which is responsible for maritime search and rescue, law enforcement, safety, environmental protection and security.

Atty. Jay Batongbacal, director of the University of the Philippines Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea, noted this ambiguity creates “at the very least, concurrent jurisdictions or enforcement between MARINA and PCG.”

Stakeholders, including Filipino Shipowners Association vice president for External Affairs Gerardo Borromeo, emphasized the need for the bill to fulfill the country’s obligations as a signatory to the IMP conventions.

Out of 59 IMO conventions, only 20 have been ratified by the Philippines, according to MARINA administrator Marcial Amaro III.

Rogelio Villanueva, acting director of the Ocean Governance, Shipping and Seafaring, Maritime and Ocean Affairs Office of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), said they are working closely with other agencies in pushing for the ratification of other IMO conventions.

In another development, Villanueva said DFA is working with agencies to retain the Philippines’ seat in the IMO Category C council, which consists of states with special interest in maritime transport and in which the Philippines is a consistent member. The council election is in November. – Aubrey Joyce Bajo

Image courtesy of marcolm at