THE Maritime Industry Authority in Northern Mindanao (Marina) sees better years ahead in the implementation of its responsibilities, particularly on the regulation aspect of seafarers and schools offering maritime courses owing to its increased funding and logistics.

Engineer Emmanuel Carpio, Marina director for Northern Mindanao and Caraga, said that with government support to further develop the maritime industry in the country, there will more quality graduates in the future that would ensure and meet the demand worldwide of Filipino seafarers.

“As a single administration and regulating agency with regard to maritime related endeavors, Marina will now be able to push further and institute quality education and trainings for deck officers and ratings, essential in maintaining the country’s refutation as the seafaring capital in the world,” Carpio said.

Lawyer Casimero Juarez Jr., Capitol University president who was the guest speaker during the celebration of the Day of the Filipino Seafarers with the theme: “Marinong Pilipino. Isulong ang Edukasyon at Pagsasanay” held Thursday, underscored the existence of thousands of graduates from maritime schools who are not on board or not employed because they did not pass the standards of the International Maritime Organization.

He said the experience of the past where schools were accredited to offer maritime courses by the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) without regard of setting standards, has rendered graduates without jobs in their related field.

Juarez who is running Capitol University, and who has been in the maritime education for 40 years, said the seafarers should be given an accolade and be in a higher standing in society as modern heroes who have largely contributed to the Philippine economy.

“Our seafarers should be on a pedestal and given the highest respect for their contribution. They are our modern heroes, unknown to many, who sacrificed being away from their loved ones just so to contribute with their earnings for our economy,” Juarez said.

Marina said there are about 300,000 Filipino seafarers on board international vessels occupying one-fourth of the total seafarers in the world. They are contributing $5 to $7 billion of the Overseas Filipino Workers remittances to the economy annually.

Juarez said that with Marina at helm in the development of the maritime industry, the country’s downturn by producing non-quality graduates would be corrected where institutions without the capacity to meet the standards would not be allowed to offer maritime courses.

"What happened in the past was that the country was producing maritime graduates in quantity rather than of quality. And we do hope that only competent institutions would be given the responsibility to educate and train would be seafarers worthy to be on board," Juarez said.