As the Philippines was able to secure its position to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Council under Category C for Biennium 2022 to 2023, the country, through the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) and in coordination with the Department of Transportation (DOTr), conveyed its appreciation to the ASEAN Member States (AMS) for their support to the re-election of the Philippines to the said Council during the 42nd ASEAN Maritime Transport Working Group (MTWG) Meeting held on 09 to 10 March 2022 via video conference.

The Philippine delegation, headed by Ms. Precila C. Jara, Officer-in-Charge of the MARINA – Overseas Shipping Service (MARINA – OSS), highlighted the country’s commitment to continually serve the international maritime community and to have a globally competitive maritime industry.

“The Philippines is pleased to continuously contribute to policy formulation and decision-making processes towards safe, secure, environmentally sound, efficient and sustainable shipping,” Ms. Jara said.

Aside from the AMS, the Philippines also expressed its appreciation to the IMO for providing and granting the country with numerous cooperation programs, projects, and trainings that significantly benefit and strengthen the Philippine maritime industry.

Philippines’ Initiatives on the Implementation of Maritime Transport-related Measures under Kuala Lumpur Transport Strategic Plan (KLTSP)

During the 42nd ASEAN MTWG Meeting, the Philippines provided updated information regarding its national coordination mechanism on port and land transport infrastructure development as well as national master plan for port and land transport development for better port access.

In her report, Ms. Jara shared that the country completed 20 locally funded projects in 2021; 53 on-going locally funded projects as of January 2022 (24 projects for Luzon; 14 projects for Visayas, and 15 projects in Mindanao); seven (7) locally funded projects now in mobilization stage, and five (5) locally funded projects under procurement processes.

The Philippines also gave updates on the improvements of the following ports: a) Manila International Container Terminal (MICT); b) South Harbor and Batangas Port; c) Davao Port; d) Zamboanga Port; e) Cagayan de Oro Port; and f) General Santos Port.

With regard to the Davao-General Santos-Bitung Route RO-RO Operation, the Philippines conveyed that it will work closely with its counterparts in Indonesia and other stakeholders in ensuring the sustainability of the said route.

Further, the Philippines likewise shared its policies and best practices on the improvements of the quality and efficiency of the Safety, Health and Environmental (SHE) management for selected ports.

The country, through the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), is now prioritizing its “Green Port” initiatives patterned before the Green Port Awards System (GPAs) of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Port Services Network (APSN) as it aims for more sustainable port operations.

Another purpose of the said undertaking is to complement the initiatives being done by the PPA’s international partners like shipping lines to reduce greenhouse gases (GHG) emitted by ships as well as port equipment to a more manageable level.

The Cagayan de Oro Port and Batangas Port are the leading PPA ports having received multiple GPAS citations from APSN.

ASEAN-China Maritime Transport Study

The Philippines informed the ASEAN Secretariat that its Chinese counterparts had agreed in principle that the ASEAN-China Cooperation Fund (ACCF) will support the ASEAN-China Maritime Transport Study based on the consultation with the Chinese Mission and Headquarter in Beijing.

42nd ASEAN MTWG Meeting

The 42nd ASEAN MTWG Meeting aims to discuss the decisions made during the ASEAN Senior Transport Officials Meeting (STOM) in November 2021, progress of implementation of maritime-transport related measures under the Kuala Lumpur Transport Strategic Plan (KLTSP), COVID-19-related initiatives, working group’s work plan, cooperation with transport-affiliated private sector organizations and dialogue partners, and ASEAN’s partnership with the IMO.

The said meeting was attended by the ASEAN Member States delegates from Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, and the Philippines. It is likewise participated by representatives from the ASEAN transport-affiliated private sector organizations and dialogue partners from Japan, China, Republic of Korea, United States, European Union (EU), India, and International Maritime Organization (IMO).

The ASEAN MTWG Meetings are being conducted twice a year to monitor the progress in the implementation of the KLTSP (2016-2025) and to discuss various ASEAN transport-related initiatives.