MANILA — Ms Sonia Bautista Malaluan, with an impressive 34 years of service in MARINA, formally assumed her role as the Agency’s Administrator after being sworn into office by Transportation Secretary Jaime J Bautista on 18 December 2023. Other senior officials and Central Office Service Directors accompanied her, and witnessed the oath taking ceremony of the newly appointed Administrator, a strong demonstration of the support and unity of the rank and file employees of the Agency for Malaluan’s leadership.

“Let’s move forward to realize the economic potentials of our maritime sector. We need to change our mindset in public governance by engaging ourselves more with our industry stakeholders. I look forward to the series of dialogues with our partner-agencies and private sector stakeholders especially to our seafarers and small industry players in the countryside. We request the support of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to enable us to institute the needed reforms” said Malaluan soon after her oath.

Meanwhile, Transportation Secretary Bautista assured the Department’s continued support. “We look forward to working with you more closely. We are definitely here for the MARINA”.

The DOTr Chief also emphasized that the “our priority is what is good for the industry, what is better for the commuting public. We owe to our people to uphold and provide a comfortable, accessible, safe, secure sustainable and affordable transportation system for the Filipino people nationwide. We should do our work with integrity and honesty”

In her new role as MARINA Administrator, Malaluan will focus her priorities based on the available and limited resources of the Agency, such as the following:

1.Effective implementation of the updated Maritime Industry Development Plan (MIDP) 2028;
2. Digitalization of the Agency’s frontline services nationwide;
3.Certification of MARINA’s core processes under ISO 9001:2015 standards for quality management system;
4. Enhancement of maritime safety by addressing the causes of maritime incidents;
5. Sustained compliance with the requirements of the STCW Convention for seafarers 1978, as amended;
6. Strengthening of the organizational structure and institutional capacity of the Agency;
7. Strong collaboration and partnership with the PCG;
8. Preparation for the Philippine compliance with the 2023 IMO Strategy on the Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships;
9. Assessment of the effectiveness of existing policies and repeal those found to be obsolete and outdated;
10.Engagement with industry stakeholders through regular fora, public consultations and dialogues; among others.

A staunch advocate of women’s empowerment and equality, Malaluan has also been campaigning actively for the sustainability of the maritime industry and the international call for decarbonization.

Before her tenure as the MARINA Administrator, Malaluan served in various capacities across administrative, finance, planning, and operations. She held the position of Deputy Administrator for Planning, the second in rank, since 23 November 2022.

In appointing Malaluan, President Marcos Jr. cited the senior official’s remarkable training and experience in economics, technology, finance, law, management, public utility, and other aspects of the maritime industry.

It is noteworthy that Malaluan spearheaded the crafting of plans and programs for the industry — including the 10-year Updated Maritime Industry Development Plan (MIDP) 2028, presented before the President in February of this year.

See more photos here.