The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), with industry stakeholders, is reviewing the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act 10635 also known as “MARINA STCW Administration Act of 2014.”
The law was enacted March 13, 2014 from the bill of Angkla PartyList which mandated MARINA as the single administration to enforce the STCW (Standards for Training, Certification and Watchkeeping), an international Convention governing seafarers.
The multilateral Technical Working Group (TWG) drafted the IRR headed by then MARINA STCW Executive Director Alvin Tormon with representatives from the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd), Professional Regulation Commission (PRC), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), National Telecommunication Commission (NTC), Dept. of Health (DOH), Angkla Partylist and UP Law Center.
Picked by raffling off private sector representatives:
- Capt. Victor S. Del Prado – Manning Agency
- Capt. Michael H. Sarthou, Jr – Academe
- Mr. Mario S. Ondrade – Marine Deck Officers
- Chief Engr. Pablo G. Bautista – Marine Engine Officers
- Mr. Abdon V. Soriano – Seafarer Ratings
The IRR zipped through: June 5th, maritime industry consultations; July 18th, DOTC approval; July 24th, MARINA signing and August 9th, published in a national periodical (i.e. Manila Times) to make it a law, officially.
In spite of a pending case at the Supreme Court.
Justifying, MARINA OIC Executive Director Joy Vera Ban-eg says the pending case pertains only to the PRC function.
“It will not in a way affect the entire IRR. If just in case the Supreme Court will favor pending petition or motion for review of returning or reverting back the PRC function to PRC, all other provisions of the IRR will not be affected.”
However, Ban-eg now says, “We all agree that there is a need to review the IRR” given conflicts in implementing RA10635 on the old IRR (which some quarters claim was rushed to placate the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) audit).
The turnaround was expressed by Ban-eg at the second consultation meeting for the revision of the IRR held October 4 at the City Garden Hotel, Ermita, Manila.
Capt. Diofonce Tunacao, Director of Association of Maritime Training Centers (PAMTCI) asks to recall records of deliberations on the past IRR consultations since there are great suggestions thereat “that should be our starting point.” That consultation was held at Ports Authority (PPA) presided by then MARINA Administrator Max Mejia.
Since the old IRR was arguably rushed, stakeholders are dissatisfied (read, angry) on the provisions. It seems the MARINA consultations of June 5, 2014 at GAD Center, Manila, was just for show and the private sector feels they were not really taken seriously.
Major associations are critical of the consultation process and actual provisions, including
Joint Manning Group (JMG), Conference of Maritime Manning Agencies (COMMA) Association of Maritime Institutions (PAMI), Association of Maritime Training Centers (PAMTCI), Masters and Mates Association (MMAP) with their lawyers and consultants.
Ban-eg admits to Capt. Tunacao there are no records to recover and should start all over. She claims that change of MARINA management did not have th proper transition, nor the transfer of record. But observers think this is just a bureaucratic cover-up of the Agency’s rush, then.
On the current IRR revision, Technical Working Group (TWG) is composed of six main groups and stakeholders are distributed:
- Manning agencies – JMG, COMMA
- Shipowners associations – FSA, DSA, SA
- MHEI – PAMI
- MTI – PAMTCI
- Unions – AMOSUP, PSU, UFS
- Professional Groups – MMAP, FILSCAPT
- Government Maritime-Related Sector – CHED, TESDA, DepEd, DOH
- Maritime Clinic association – AMClinics
- MARINA – Divisions like STCW, Operations and Legal
- Maritime PartyList – Angkla
MARINA serves as the TWG secretariat for documentation and consolidation of reports and data. TWG meet may without MARINA, in solo groups or together. Meantime, MARINA STCW will meet MARINA Legal Division on how to approach, what can be done and not in the IRR proposed revisions.
Others with suggestions, recommendations, comments or queries may e-mail or submit hard copies to the STCW Office IRR Revision Secretariat.
TWG meets on October 20, November 3, 16, 28 and December 14 as Ban-eg appeals, “We are soliciting your help. Let us agree together” and hopes to collaborate towards a clear outline on what provisions or revisions may be submitted to the MARINA Board by December.
JMG was first to submit comments and proposals, clarified by Vice Chair- External Affairs Ericson Marquez, “JMG spent one day discussing the provisions that were brought up last time… We know that there’s a case (at the Supreme Court) but …the same IRR remains to be followed which is …full of mistakes if I may say that word.”
He also requests MARINA should allow stakeholders to validate what MARINA has consolidated as the “consensus.” Marquez is wary because the existing IRR is very far from comments given during the sham consultations.
Otherwise, “parang sinasayang lang natin ang panahon (seems wasting time) if you (MARINA) have a different opinion from the consensus of the whole industry.”
Capt. Emerico Gepilano, member of MARINA Advisory Council reports on the first maritime stakeholders meeting in Cebu on the IRR revision.
They observe these contrasts on the present IRR:
- It is now the SBT officer of the MHEI who is checking the daily journal and not anymore the Board of Marine Deck Officers and Board of Marine Engine Officers
- MARINA regional offices shall monitor and evaluate the implementation and enforcement of this IRR. This has not yet been done in the regional offices.
- Until now MARINA regional office don’t have a list of candidate as regional evaluators.
The ones evaluating in the region are not deck officer or engine officer in contrary to what is required in the IRR 6.7.2
Association of Maritime Institutions (PAMI) President Felix Oca “It’s really us that have a big problem …We are trying to take a look and reword some of the statements… There are many things that we would like to correct… IRR should be approved by either the Secretary of the agency or the Department or the Executive the Executive Secretary himself. Unfortunately this IRR was approved by the Administrator.
PAMI, the biggest organization of maritime schools, submitted its position paper on June 10 2014, deadline of MARINA. But like other organizations, observers believe almost none of their comments were considered in the final IRR.
(Then) STCW Director Alvin Tormon counters they have studied all the suggestions but there are points already clarified through STCW circulars.
PAMTCI points out the following:
- Rule IV Compliance and Enforcement Procedures – While this has provisions for non-g acts. So the minor issuances cannot govern the implementation of a major issuance.
- Section 8.4.3, unfair as P5K for MHEIs but P50K for MTIs:
- Imposed for ordinary non-compliant acts:
First offense in one school year: a fine of P5,000 for every count of non-compliance committed on the same day or occasion and written warning on the possible phasing out of METP.
- MTIs for ordinary non-compliant acts:
First offense in twelve-month period: a fine of P50,000 for every count of non-compliance committed on the same day or occasion, and a four-week preventive suspension of the particular ATP, counted from the last day the ATP was conducted, imposed within 30 days from the finality of the decision of MARINA
More are brewing in the teacup, tempered or tempest. But bottom line, the law gives to MARINA the last say. Or the last laugh.