MANILA — “In the past year, the MARINA was outstanding in giving service to the Filipino people. Our team, charting a new course through innovation and transformation, exemplify what MARINA has become over the past year, or even the past two (2) years.”

That’s what the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) Administrator Vice Admiral Robert A Empedrad AFP (Ret) said during the agency’s 48th Founding Anniversary celebration on 01 June 2022, which was conducted via hybrid face-to-face and video conferencing at the MARINA Central Office in Port Area, Manila.

This year’s anniversary, with the theme “MARINA@48: Chartering New Course Through Innovation and Transformation,” flaunted 2021 accomplishments that housed timely, practical, and leading-edge projects, plans and programs geared towards a progressive Philippine maritime industry.

Meanwhile, MARINA Deputy Administrator for Operations Engr. Nannette Villamor-Dinopol expressed that despite the industry’s “ever-changing demand on dynamic, local, and international regulations, as well as the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency was able to stay afloat.”

“Today marks the new chapter of MARINA, and as the new administration comes in, we must start charting a new course that will lead us to new possibilities. I encourage all of you to ignite the light in the corners of your mind, and be an active part of the maritime community,” Deputy Administrator Dinopol added.

During the commemoration, the MARINA presented the highlights of its accomplishments for the year 2021, emphasizing how the agency faced head-on the challenges brought by the global health crisis, and how it remained steadfast in rendering quality service to the Filipino seafarers, and maritime stakeholders.

For his part, Administrator Empedrad, through his anniversary address, positively reported the agency’s major accomplishments in 2021.

“First and foremost, I am privileged to report to you that the MARINA, as an organization, has a new structure that will increase our manpower – from 800 to 2,200 by the year 2024. And we devolved all the regulatory functions to the regional offices, which will bring the service to our stakeholders in their respective regions. They don’t have to come here. They just have to come to the MARINA regional offices,” Administrator Empedrad said.

“I would also like to report, as well, the roadmap of the MARINA – the Strategic Voyage Plan 2028 – that will execute our plans and priority programs of the Maritime Industry Development Plan (MIDP). Kung wala ‘yung Voyage Plan, lahat ng plano sa MIDP ay hindi natin kayang gawin. But for every individual, every employee of MARINA has a work to do to execute the plans on our Voyage Plan,” he added.

Administrator Empedrad also underscored that the agency was able to provide a comprehensive strategic correction to the European Commission assessment report, which “took 14 years to come up with a 280-page report that addresses the issues of EMSA and raise our standards in the implementation of the STCW Convention.”***

Furthermore, the Administrator accentuated MARINA’s maximized automation, and digitalization of the Agency’s systems and processes to speed up its service aligned with the provisions of Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA); the PRIME-HRM Level 2 Bronze Award from the Civil Service Commission (CSC); the vaccination program for thousands of Filipino seafarers; the speedy processing of seafarers’ license, the crew change hubs, the recognition of seafarers as keyworkers; the inauguration of Maritime Training Institute (MarTI) in Bacolod; as well as winning the war against corruption.

Aside from its accomplishments, the MARINA also showcased two video teasers for the celebration of its golden anniversary in 2024. First, is the return of the TIMONEL Awards, an avenue for the MARINA to recognize the exemplary contributions of private, and public entities, or individuals who made a major impact on the maritime industry for the last 10 years. The period of nomination will start from June 2023 to December 2023. The other one is the MARINA Boat Design Competition which the registration period will end in October 2022.

The MARINA also held a virtual dance competition for its personnel, as well as the awarding of plaques, certificates, and tokens for the Service, and Program on Awards and Incentives for Service Excellence (PRAISE) awardees. The awardees were consisted of employees who rendered decades-long years in serving the government.

The anniversary celebration was graced by MARINA Administrator Empedrad, Deputy Administrator for Operations Engineer Dinopol, OIC-Deputy Administrator for Planning Ms. Sonia Malaluan, and other MARINA officials.

Lastly, with the new administration sets to take over, and with his term ending the next month, Administrator Empedrad expressed, “All I can say is, if I am given another chance to serve (as MARINA administrator), then, we will raise our ambitions higher because I believe, the hope for our country to achieve economic progress is the development of the maritime industry. I would like to express, in behalf of my family, my congratulations to all of you. Hindi ko nagawa ang aking trabaho if you are not with me. And as I said, it is an honor and privilege to work with you in serving the Filipino people and our maritime nation.” .