By Genalyn Kabiling
The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) will take over the supervision of the country’s maritime schools to ensure compliance with the standards imposed by the European Union (EU), Malacañang announced Thursday.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said an agreement between CHED and the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) will be forged to enhance the training of Filipino seafarers and meet international regulations.
The latest development was announced during a meeting convened by President Duterte with several Cabinet members in Malacañang last Wednesday.
“It was announced yesterday (Wednesday) that there will be an agreement, brokered by DOTr (Department of Transportation), between the CHED and MARINA where the CHED will now undertake supervision and inspection of all maritime schools to ensure compliance with the EU standards,” Roque said during a Palace press briefing.
“Dahil sa importansya ng bagay na ito, dahil tayo pa rin ang pinakamaraming mga Pilipino na nagtatrabaho bilang seamen, ang presidente mismo ang nagsu-supervise ng compliance ng ating mga maritime schools [Because of the importance of the matter, because Filipinos comprise the largest number of seafarers, the President is supervising the compliance of our maritime schools],” he added.
Roque said the government aims to meet the deadline on the submission of compliance program to the EU body.
The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) reportedly raised concerns about the country’s compliance with the International Convention on the Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers.
The government has reportedly been given until October to submit its compliance plans to address the issues raised during an inspection last March.
EMSA, a regulatory arm of the EU on maritime safety, has conducted regular audit to ensure Filipino seafarers working on board EU-flagged ships are qualified and competent. Audit teams have been deployed to monitor the country’s maritime education and look into measures to meet international standards.