The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) signed on Monday, 11 October 2021, the memorandum of agreement (MOA) on their partnership in the development of training programs for the shipbuilding and ship repair (SBSR) sector.

Representing their respective agencies, MARINA Administrator VADM Robert A Empedrad and TESDA Director General Secretary Isidro S. Lapeña gathered virtually to hold the signing of the MOA. The undertaking is another milestone for the country’s SBSR sector, which employed almost 7,000 skilled workers and more than 2,000 semi-skilled workers in 2019.

In her welcome message, MARINA Deputy Administrator for Operations Engr. Nannette Z. Villamor-Dinopol underscored the MARINA’s continuing efforts to uphold the rights of Filipino SBSR workers to safe labor practices as well as fair treatment in the workplace, with the streamlining of Gender and Development (GAD) concepts in MARINA policies particularly Memorandum Circular No. 2018-02 and Memorandum Circular No. SR-2019-01.

“A positive work environment will boost the morale of our shipyard workers and enable them to perform more effectively to produce ships for the domestic and foreign markets. The only thing that will hold them back from achieving such great heights is inadequate skill and training,” Engr. Villamor-Dinopol said, expressing her gratitude for TESDA.

VADM Empedrad also extended his appreciation to Sec. Lapeña and his team for dedicating their time and effort so that the discussions between the MARINA and TESDA would materialize.

Recognizing the contribution of the thousands of Filipino shipyard workers and technical professionals across the Philippine islands, the Administrator stated, “Expecting and anticipating our vibrant industry new prospective shipyards by next year and of course with our plan to expand the Philippine Flag will increase the demand for more employees for shipyards due to the demands of repairs and shipbuilding by various ships, local or foreign.”

Emphasizing that the Philippine economy is largely dependent on the maritime industry, he added, “Because we want to ensure sustainable development for the maritime industry, we are empowering the people behind the industry.”

Meanwhile, Sec. Lapeña highlighted the importance of the newly-inked MARINA-TESDA partnership. The TESDA Director-General noted that this MOA will help the two agencies identify and develop a skills training curriculum for existing and aspiring workers in the SBSR sector and other related maritime trades.

“TESDA and MARINA will work hand in hand to create training programs and competency assessments that will conform with international SBSR standards,” Sec. Lapeña assured those in attendance. Currently, TESDA has existing Competency Standards for Boat Building (Composite Materials) Level II.

Upgrading the SBSR workforce is aligned with the objectives of Program 5 of the Maritime Industry Development Plan (MIDP), which pursues the expansion of local shipyards in terms of capacity, capability, and facility. At present, most shipbuilding activities in the Philippines are concentrated in the National Capital Region and in Cebu.

Aside from Program 5, the upgrading of SBSR workforce is also covered by the newly added Program 9 of the MIDP, which is “The Philippines to Advance the Development and Provision of Qualified and Competent Seafarers As Well As Human Capital Requirement for the Global Maritime Industry.” This program aims to advance the competencies of the country’s maritime professionals, including the investment in the quality of human capital resources that will raise the productivity and consequently, the profitability of the industry.

The MARINA and TESDA will form a joint technical working group to identify and implement the projects under the MOA.

Also in the virtual MOA signing were Engr. Ramon C. Hernandez, Director of the Shipyards Regulation Service and the Maritime Service of the MARINA; Deputy Director-General Aniceto “John” Bertiz III of TESDA; and other officials and personnel from the MARINA and TESDA.