HYATT HOTEL AND CASINO MANILA, 26 February 2009. – FAME held the 1st general membership meeting for the year by which 80 of the member-manning companies of the Association arrived. Several issues and concerns affecting the maritime industry have been part of the agenda such as, the Maritime School Assessment Program (MSAP), issues on LUSWELF, Seafarers Identification Card, NLRC Club Letter of Guarantee Resolution, Magna Carta for Seafarers, Walk-In Examination System, Visa matters and other maritime issues.

Deputy Administrator Hans Leo J. Cacdac of POEA Adjudication and Licensing Division was one of the guest speakers. His discussion comprised the ongoing and future projects of the Administration. During his discussion, he mentioned that DOLE Secretary Marianito D. Roque has created the Maritime Watch Group tasked to monitor effects of the current global financial crisis in the maritime industry. He likewise explained the issue concerning the submission of monthly report required to the manning agencies. He emphasized that the purpose of requiring this is for the government to act immediately and properly on reports of job displacements for all types of seafarers. He stressed, “during this time of global crisis, it is a must that everybody should act immediately on the basis of accurate, correct data and fast incoming information. If the information comes in delay, the government cannot properly act to protect the displaced seafarers and find possible re-employment in particular. And that the policy that might be imposed by the government may not be in tune with the reality.”

TESDA Director Clifford Paragua attended the meeting on behalf of TESDA Director General Augusto L. Syjuco. In his message delivered to the general membership, he assured that TESDA is doing its best to safeguard the integrity of training, assessment and certification programs for ratings. More so, he requested the assistance of everybody, as TESDA’s partners in the manning and shipping industry, to eliminate cases of certificate buying and other anomalies in the issuance of training certificates of competency for ratings and further requested for joint forces in leading out bad element in the maritime industry that tempt to ruin the credibility of their system. He said, “the leadership of TESDA is also sensitive to what the industry desires, to have better and more efficient services by looking into number of options on how to serve the clients and seafarers better.”

Before the meeting was over, FAME President Marlon R. Roño announced the upcoming activities of FAME that include: Symposium on Shipping Crisis” (18 March 2009), 5th FAME Golf Invitational Tournament (24 April 2009), and FAME Info Series 02-09 on “Criminalization of Seafarers” (29 April 2009). The members were requested to support all these upcoming activities of the Association.