House panel approves bill ensuring compliance to int'l maritime instruments

The House of Representatives Committee on Transportation, under its chairman Samar 1st District Rep. Edgar Mary Sarmiento, has approved the International Maritime Instruments Domestication Act.

The House substitute bill, a consolidation of House bills 333, 5222, 5758 and 6217, sponsored by MARINO partylist Rep. Sandro Gonzalez was unanimously approved and adopted by the committee members.

"This substitute bill reflects our country's seriousness in implementing the agreements and a clear display of our commitment to promote the overall interest of our maritime sector," said Gonzalez during the committee meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 13.

Gonzales also served as chairman of the technical working group (TWG) that discussed the said measure in three TWG meetings.

International maritime instruments refer to all conventions, codes recommendations, procedures, guidelines, or other similar instruments pertaining to safety of life at sea, prevention of pollution from ships, load lines, tonnage measurements of ships, and regulations for preventing collisions at sea.

The bill's salient points include the designation of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) as the primary and central maritime administration with the powers and functions relative to the compliance with, effective implementation and enforcement of all international maritime instruments to which the Philippines is a state party.

It also allows appropriate government agencies to revise without need of further legislation the rules and regulations to conform with any subsequent amendment to any technical annex of any existing international convention or treaty. (Melvin Sarangay)