As the country’s maritime administration seeks to uphold its commitments in ensuring full compliance to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Member State Audit Scheme (IMSAS) in October 2022, the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) held the Inter-Agency Writeshop on Pre-Audit Questionnaire (PAQ) on 19 February 2021 via video conference to update and finalize the said document before its submission to the audit team.

The PAQ is one of the mandatory requirements for the IMSAS, and is considered as a Member State’s “first line of defense” for the said mandatory audit as it will form part of the audit team’s strategic planning before subjecting it to external scrutiny.

During the Writeshop, the MARINA Administrator VAdm Robert A Empedrad AFP (Ret) commenced the said activity by encouraging the participants to take part in this undertaking.

“I urge all our Writeshop participants today to commit to this learning exercise, so that we do not only learn but also contribute to our ladder of accomplishments as Member-State to the IMO,” said VAdm Empedrad.

The Officer-In-Charge of the MARINA – Overseas Shipping Service, Ms. Precila C. Jara, facilitated the said activity wherein she explained that the main purpose of conducting this Writeshop was to review and finalize the PAQ to be submitted to the audit team. It is important to note that the audit team will carry out detailed planning for the audit based on their assessment of the document. The finalized PAQ will be submitted to the IMO two months after the Memorandum of Cooperation between the IMO Secretary-General and Secretary of Transportation has been concluded in April 2021.

Assisted by the Lead Auditor of the IMSAS Mock Audit Team, MARINA Regional Office VI Director, Engr. Jose Venancio Vero, representatives from the government agencies comprising the maritime administration exchanged views in reviewing and updating their respective commitments and targets as indicated in the PAQ. They likewise ensured that all required information in the PAQ have been updated, and are being implemented and enforced by the flag, port, and coastal State agencies in the country.

Deputy Administrator for Operations, Engr. Nannette Z. Villamor – Dinopol concluded the Writeshop by reminding the maritime administration of its goal of setting the bar high towards quality, compliance, and effective implementation.

“I encourage everyone to strive beyond the bare minimum of what is expected from us – in other words, to be the benchmark for constant improvement,” Engr. Dinopol highlighted.

The Writeshop was participated by the representatives from the MARINA, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), Cebu Port Authority (CPA), Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA), National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), and Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

In November 2017, the PAQ was initially accomplished by the Inter-Agency Workshop. The said activity likewise validated the initial gap analysis based on non-exhaustive list of obligations, identified possible legislations based on the identified gaps, validated the proposed implementation plan for the Mock Audit and drafted the Executive Order on the Creation of the Inter-Agency Council in IMSAS.