After 6 years from the first ever “Philippine Manning Convention 2007” which gave birth to the Joint Manning Group (JMG), another remarkable and edifying convention has been organized by the JMG.
 
The Conference which carried a very timely theme: “Seafaring under MLC 2006 and STCW 2010 Manila Amendments” was held Friday, 27 September, at the SMX Convention Center, Pasay City.
 
The Conference was organized for the Philippine Maritime Industry and it was meant to inform everyone about the actions of our government agencies on what is happening to comply with the Maritime Labor Convention (MLC), 2006 and the implementation of the 2010 Manila Amendments to the Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW). These two conventions are important milestones for the maritime industry.
 
At the start, JMG’s incumbent Chairman and also President of International Maritime Association of the Philippines (INTERMAP), Atty. Vincent C. Miranda, gave his warmest welcome and brief background on what the Conference is all about.
 
The JMG have gathered a line-up of speakers namely DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz as Keynote Speaker, POEA Administrator Hans Leo J. Cacdac, DOH Bureau of Health Facilities and Services (BHFS) Chief Standards Development Division Dr. Cynthia Rosuman, MARINA Administrator Maximo Mejia, Jr., CHED Executive Director IV Atty. Julito D. Vitriolo, PRC Chairperson Teresita R. Manzala, and Del Rosario Pandiphil, Inc. President Atty. Ruben T. Del Rosario.
 
The Convention consisted of topics on Implementing MLC 2006 on Overseas and Domestic Shipping and Seafaring Sector, Medical Standards and Guidelines for Seafarers, Status of Implementation of 2010 STCW Amendments, CHED Policies and Guidelines on the Monitoring and Evaluation of Higher Education Institutions in compliance with the Requirements of CHED and STCW Convention, Update on the Certification and Licensing of Merchant Marine Officers in Compliance with the Requirements of STCW Convention, and P&I Updated on Crew Claims. A question and answer portion was conducted in between sessions.
 
An important highlight of Sec. Baldoz’message was the announcement of the soft launch of the Labor Inspection Systems Application (LISA-PH) held 23 Sept 2013. This is an online web-based application system for the system-management on labor laws. This system will utilize gadgets for transmitting and processing real-time data collected from the field via an electronic checklist. This will be unveiled to the public during DOLE’s 80th anniversary on 09 Dec 2013.
 
Sec. Baldoz also mentioned that the entry into force of MLC 2006 was marred by another sea tragedy in Cebu City. This event underscored the need for all stakeholders to move fast in putting in place the right balance between ensuring decent work for seafarers and securing fair competition among quality shipowners. MLC 2006 aims to level the playing field between the two sectors.
 
Sec. Baldoz also pointed out that out of the one hundred twenty three (123) Philippine-registered Ships in the MARINA Registry, one hundred twenty two (122) have already been issued the DMLC Part I and ten (10) vessels have already been issued the Maritime Labor Certificate by the Recognized Organizations.
 
With regards the coordination between DOLE and DOTC, Sec. Baldoz mentioned that they have agreed to come out with a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) which will contain a mechanism that will ensure coherence and coordination in the delivery of government programs and services to the maritime industry stakeholders, both
 
 
domestic and overseas. The said mechanism shall be carried out at both the national and regional levels through the DOLE Bureau of Working Conditions (BWC) and the Regional Offices.
 
Sec. Baldoz thanked everyone for the continued engagement and cooperation. She also took the opportunity to mention that both the government and employers should push for the passing of the Magna Carta for Seafarers which is then pending in Congress.
 
MARINA Administrator Maximo Mejia, Jr. presented the progress report of the implementation of 2010 STCW Amendments and E.O. 75. He confidently announced that MARINA has already issued nine (9) Memorandum Circulars and six (6) advisories.
 
Admin Mejia also presented specific actions to address other EMSA concerns for Program and Course Approval, Monitoring and Evaluation of METIs, and for Certification and Endorsement.
 
He said in confidence that the Philippines will be able to demonstrate in October the significant progress made in addressing the main areas of concern raised by EMSA in April 2013 as well as in its earlier audits.
 
He assured the body that MARINA is committed to ensure that the country maintains its competitiveness as the world’s premier provider of quality seafarers. Every Filipino seafarer is “to be clothed”in a suit of armor that is unassailable. This will be done with a Philippine Certificate of Competence (CoC) or Certificate of Proficiency (CoP) that is accepted by the maritime administrations and industry stakeholders around the world.
 
JMG Vice-Chairman for Internal Affairs and President of Filipino Association for Mariners’ Employment, Inc. (FAME), Mr. Jose Albar G. Kato, gave an update on JMG’s CSR project in partnership with SM Supermalls. This is the Seafarer Center. A promotional video of the Center was shown with the intention to encourage the general membership to patronize its facilities and services provided especially for the seafarers and the general membership.
 
As a token to the participants, some of our generous sponsors raffled off fabulous gifts. Huge thanks to all of our munificent sponsors who have given support to make the conference possible! These are the Philippine Japan Manning Consultative Council (PJMCC) as the Major Sponsor, SMART Communications Inc. as Luncheon Sponsor, International Mariners Management Association of Japan (IMMAJ), Associated Marine Officers and Seamen’s Union of the Philippines (AMOSUP) and All Japan Seamen’s Union (AJSU) as Minor sponsors, Philippine Merchant Marine Academy Alumni Association (PMMAAAI) as a Patron Sponsor, Maritime Clinics & Doctors Association of the Philippines (MARCDOC) and Cebu Pacific as Documentation Sponsors, lastly Pandiman Phils., Inc., Del Rosario Pandiphil, Sterling Bank of Asia, Tigerair, Wow Videoke and Sanofi Pasteur Exhibit as Exhibit sponsors. 
 
To close the Conference, a short message was given by the JMG Board Secretary and President of Philippine-Japan Manning Consultative Council (PJMCC), Mr. Eduardo U. Manese. He stressed that formation of the JMG already shows positive results. These are seen by the coordinated initiatives of the industry to voice out its position to the various government agencies.
 
Delegates totalled 401 participants from different companies, government agencies, and maritime associations.
 
The conference resulted into a remarkable venue for the members to be updated of the latest policies set forth for the betterment of the Philippine Maritime Industry.