The Philippine government has beefed up its maritime cooperation with the government of Georgia by working on seafarers' certification recognition as sea-based Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) face risk of decertification from the European Maritime Safety Authority (Emsa).
During the 2nd Philippines-Georgia Political Consultations in Manila on October 27, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Ma. Theresa Lazaro met with Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Khvtisiashvili to propose maritime cooperation between the two countries.
The focus was on the recognition of seafarers' certificate recognition, considering that the Philippines and Georgia are two of the world's big providers of seafarers.
According to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the two officials also exchanged information between maritime authorities and institutions.
"As an archipelagic country, maritime cooperation is very important for us," Lazaro said.
"The Philippines and Georgia can benefit from people-to-people exchanges between our maritime authorities and training institutions," she added.
During a recent House hearing, another DFA undersecretary, Eduardo de Vega, expressed alarm that the hiring of new Filipino seafarers in the European Union (EU) member-states as well as the employment of some 50,000 workers in the region are at risk if the country would not comply with the Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping (STCW) Requirements.
On the other hand, the two officials also discussed ways to improve two-way trade and investments as the Philippine-based International Container Terminal Service (ICTSI) also operates in the port of Batumi in Georgia.
Among other things explored for cooperation were in the areas of inter-parliamentary exchanges, economic, environment, tourism, education, and culture, DFA said.
Concluding the discussion, Lazaro and Khvtisiashvili vowed to continue supporting each other's candidature and advocacies in the multilateral fora, engaging in a candid and open exchange of views on regional and international issues.