MANILA – The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) Administrator VADM Robert A Empedrad AFP (Ret) bared his 10-Point Agenda for the maritime industry during the Agency’s Midyear Performance Assessment and Planning Conference held virtually last 20 July 2020.

Administrator Empedrad who assumed office on March 3, 2020 and has since kept the MARINA afloat amid the raging tide of CoVid-19 global pandemic, commits himself to the following priorities:

1. Strengthen the MARINA organization for efficiency, underscoring the (a) delegation of functions to the MARINA Regional Offices and capacitate the same; (b) the establishment of a strong linkage amongst MROs; the fast-tracking of filling up of to at least 90%; the establishment of deputy administrators that will focus on planning, (c) the national capital region and the MROs; and pursue the Performance Governance System (PGS) of the MARINA;

2. Ensure that the MARINA personnel are capacitated to be able to perform well under the new normal with enhanced morale and welfare by (a) providing them with the necessary tools and training to be able to work from home; (b) explore partnership with TESDA for needed skills training for personnel, including those contracted as Job Orders (JOs); and, (c) provide career educational opportunities required by the CSC and to strengthen the promotion system based on merits;

3. Ensure the strict compliance with standard health protocols in our battle against COVID-19, and vowed that the MARINA front-liners must be protected in every way from acquiring the virus by (a) making sure the availability of PPEs for them; (b) implementation of stringent measures to prevent the spread of CoVid-19; and, (c) adoption of specific protocols for infected MARINA employees taking consideration the various DOH advisories on the matter;

4. Address the findings of EMSA with much urgency in the next 6 months by (a) strengthening the MARINA capabilities to monitor and inspect compliance of training institutions; (b) expedite the assessment and review of 61 MHEIs compliance; (c) complete the process for the new curriculum design for first year BSMAR-E and BSMT and ensure successful piloting with PMMA. Finalize the curriculum design for the second and fourth year for BSMARE and BSMT before the end of the year for implementation in AY 2021-2022; and, (c) expedite compliances on examination and assessment before the end of third quarter;

5. Establish systems and processes that will eradicate corruption within the organization through (a) forum with all stakeholders and interested groups on good governance; and, (b) the institutionalization of value formation activities for MARINA personnel;

6. Maximize the use of digitalization or automation in our systems and processes to speed up services for our stakeholders through (a) enhanced online services paving for contactless transactions from application to release of statutory certificates and documents; (b) the establishment of protocols for the automation of assessment and inspection; and, (c) ensure that safety nets and data security system are in place for all MARINA online services;

7. Pursue with vigor the 8 priority programs of the MIDP by (a) adopting necessary adjustments to the strategic deliverables and timelines in consideration of the new normal; (b) elicit governmental interventions and support those programs which are adversely affected by the pandemic; (c) implement stringent measures for the safety of ships and personnel as paramount in the performance of duties and responsibilities; and (d) uncompromising as far as environmental protection is concerned;

8. Elevate compliance to the STCW Convention and ensure the advancement and safety of our seafarers through the (a) review current basic and refresher’s courses and make them compliant to STCW standard; and, (b) pursue the ISO governance system compliance of the STCW office;

9. Strengthen policies and procedures to ensure good governance by (a) adopting an enhanced policy formulation system for a speedy review and amendment of policies; and, (b) to seek congressional act on the existing legislative measures on the modernization of domestic shipping including the shipbuilding and ship repair capabilities and allied services, and the manpower education and training for purposes to be more responsive to the current and future trends of the maritime industry;

10. Continue to prepare extensively for the IMO Member State Audit Scheme (IMSAS) 2022 through the execution of the Philippines’ maritime strategy; and the continuing information, education and campaign undertakings, such as webinars on IMSAS.

Quoting a passage from the Bible (Ephesians 4:16), Administrator Empedrad strongly enjoins all MARINA Offices to consider each other as members of one body, that each is part of a whole and has a significant purpose or role to play; that MARINA offices should be equipped and be able to perform well to make the Organization grow and increase its impact to the country and the global maritime community.

This year’s Midyear Performance Assessment and Planning Conference is the first virtual conference conducted by the Agency spearheaded by the Planning and Policy Service. It was attended by around 90 participants composed of MARINA officials, planners and budget officers, including some representatives from the Commission on Audit.