Marcos Jr. says maritime industry is top priority

Joyce Balancio, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 28 2023 08:10 PM

MANILA—President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Tuesday said the maritime industry's development is a top priority of his administration.

Speaking before the Philippine Maritime Industry Summit at the Manila Hotel, Marcos said the Philippines is the world’s primary source of maritime manpower, noting that 25 percent of the global seafarers are Filipinos.

In 2022, they brought in $6.71-B worth of remittances, he said.

“I laud the commitment of our Filipino seafarers to bring honor and pride once again to our country. They do this by providing the quality service across the globe and contributing to our nation building efforts,” the President stressed.

“Given that the Philippines is a maritime nation, I believe that it is time for us to make the maritime industry once again a top priority,” he said. 

As of Dec. 31, 2022, there were nearly 16,000 registered domestic ships plying 1,300 inter-island shipping routes across the country, Marcos noted.

The Philippine government has collected over P30.75 million worth of taxes in 2022 from almost 100 Philippine-registered overseas ships, he added.

Marcos Jr. also recognized the efforts of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) in “taking a huge leap” in making the industry more globally competitive through the Marine Industry Development Plan (MIDP) 2028.

MIDP focuses on eight priority programs ranging from “enhancing maritime transport safety and security, promoting environmental sustainability, implementing digitalization; modernizing, upgrading and expanding domestic and overseas shipping industry, including the local shipbuilding and ship repair industry; promoting a highly-skilled and competitive maritime workforce; adopting an effective, and efficient maritime administration government system.”

The chief executive encouraged all government institutions and concerned agencies to pursue a “whole of government approach” to implement the said plan.

“As the leader I assure you that this administration will give its unqualified support in your aspirations of building a Philippine maritime industry that will be looked upon with admiration by the region and the rest of world,” he assured.

“Together let us synergize all our efforts and harness the potential of this event and of the MIDP 2028. This is to provide better opportunities for our fellow Filipinos, to build a more progressive, sustainable and resilient maritime sector,” he added.


DOTr Sec. Jaime Bautista also assured that the country is complying with the European Union’s (EU) ultimatum to improve the training standards for Filipino seafarers.

This following reports that there could be 50,000 Filipino seafarers working in European vessels that are at risk of losing their jobs because of repeated failure to pass the European Maritime Safety Agency.

“We already submitted the reports noon pa even the previous administration, nasubmit na 'yung report, 'yung response nila doon sa audit, that was in 2020,” he said during the media interview after the event.

“Ang ginagawa ng bagong administrasyon ay sinasabi namin sa kanila kung ano na ang nagawa namin what we have implemented as part of what the previous government submitted to the EU,” he added.

Bautista said there have been meetings with the EU regarding the matter, and the government has presented their programs to improve the trainings.

“Based doon sa aking pagkaalam, eh palagay ko naman, wala naman mawawalan ng trabaho doon sa ating seafarers na nakaassign sa EU,” he assured.