The Ambassador and Consul General Embassy of the Republic of Panama, H.E. Rolando A. Guevara Alvarado and the Executive Director of the STCW Office of Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), Capt. Eleazar G. Diaz stood as Guest of Honor and Speakers before the membership of the Filipino Association for Mariners’ Employment, Inc. (FAME) and some guests from other maritime associations under the umbrella organization of the Joint Manning Group (JMG) for the first time to provide updates in their respective offices and answer questions from the audience during the FAME Annual General Membership Meeting, which was held last 21 September 2016 at the Ballroom of Diamond Hotel Philippines.
 
There have been developments being implemented already in the MARINA office since the appointment of the new Administrator under the new government. Capt. Diaz publicized that they are now strictly implementing the three-day standard processing time since 01 August of 2016 as mandated by the new Administration. He therefore encouraged the membership to submit complete and valid documents so that they could be able to process applications in the specified schedule. The MARINA speaker also summarized the accomplishments of the Agency as well as presented their future plans and strategic directions to make their services more effective and efficient. Such includes a plan implementing a certification system called “Oceanis” - a  digital platform where documentations issued by other government agency or authorized private institutions, required for the processing of administration issued certifications or services, are uploaded in a centralized system to realize a no-human intervention system and provides for an online application and realtime verification.
 
Panama Ambassador Alvarado, on the other hand, also announced that all Panama seafarer’s applications will now be done through online automated system which commenced on October of the current year. Similar to the MARINA application process, the Panama leader stressed that they will no longer accept incomplete and manual documents comes the full implementation of the new process. 
 
This year’s annual general assembly also staged the first President’s Report of Mr. Marlon R. Roño since he assumed the position in 2015. The President proudly stated that FAME remains to be the largest association in the manning industry, with 117 regular members and seven (7) associate members to date. FAME kept its close coordination with the government to ensure that the position of the industry in certain issues are addressed. FAME played a major role in government implementations such as the TESDA Assessment and Certification for Ships’ Catering NC III, OWWA PDOS for Seafarers, review of the 2003 POEA Rules and Regulations Governing the Recruitment and Employment of Seafarers, development of a model Bilateral Agreement to enhance MLC 2006 implementation, crafting of the law and IRR of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration Act and Seafarers’ Protection Act, and the proposed Magna Carta of Seafarers to name some of it. FAME also supported other industry endeavors including a partnership with Women in Maritime Philippines Association (WIMAPHIL) to promote Maritime Careers for Women, dialogue with Panama Embassy on new regulations for Filipino Seafarers, international dialogue on human trafficking, and educational discussion to fight against HIV/AIDS. The Association as well helped in building new homes and community center for the victims of the Typhoon Yolanda. Mr. Roño likewise informed that FAME was one of the recipients of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) award which recognized its social partners in the maritime sector. Moreover, the Association’s financial position was reported by its Treasurer, Ms. Carmen B. Rebusi.
 
Another highlight of the event was the awarding of membership certificate to new FAME member NS United Marine Philippines Inc. The company’s President and Chairman, Capt. Alexander A. Nuguid, accepted the certificate.
 
A total of 121 members and guests attended the FAME annual general assembly.