The House Committee on Higher and Technical Education approved Thursday a bill seeking to declare the Philippine Merchant Marine Academy (PMMA) as national maritime academy.
In a virtual meeting, the House panel, chaired by Baguio City Rep. Mark Go, approved the motion made by Deputy Speaker and Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez to give the green light to the substitute bill, subject to amendments and style.
Rodriguez’s motion was seconded by Camarines Sur Rep. Gabriel Bordado Jr.
“It is about time that we upgrade and strengthen the PMMA in order to meet the needs of the international and domestic shipping industry,” said Rodriguez, principal author of the bill.
Go directed all the concerned stakeholders, including the Philippine Navy, to formally submit their proposed amendments to the bill, which substituted Rodriguez’s HB 6439.
During the hearing, PN specifically sought amendment to Section 23 (Mandatory Government Service) of the substitute bill.
Chief of Naval Staff Rear Admiral Adelius Bordado said instead of two years, the graduates of the undergraduate degree programs of the PMMA, who will opt to work in the merchant marine industry, either domestic or international trade, should be required to provide a minimum of “four to six years” cumulative full-time service to the government.
Upon hearing Abutal’s concern, Bordado suggested that the amendments proposed by concerned stakeholders, including the PN, be included in the substitute measure.
The panel agreed with Bordado.
PMMA superintendent Commodore Joel Abutal thanked the panel for passing the measure, saying that it is an “incredible gift to the Academy.”
The bill mandates the strengthening of the PMMA as the national maritime academy, which is expected to produce a pool of highly trained manpower to serve as naval, maritime law enforcement, and hydrographic officers of the country.
The PMMA is mandated to provide maritime training and education for merchant marine professionals and serve as a graduate school by providing graduate education for maritime professionals to pursue advance studies in maritime fields.