For the first time since its creation in 1974, the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) will implement a 10-year Maritime Industry Development Program.
Marina Administrator Rey Leonardo Guerrero said this will serve as the blueprint for the sea transportation industry.
He said Marina will pursue a ship modernization program for domestic shipping by strengthening the capability of local shipyards and fostering the construction of more ships.
Cebu is known to have built large vessels purchased by companies abroad. However, several shipyards are not as productive as these can be, due to lack of capital.
Guerrero was in Cebu to meet Marina officials and grace the launching of Lite Ferry 88, which the Department of Transportation (DOTr) described as a show of continuous support for the shipping modernization program.
Guerrero read Department of Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade’s message that while modernizing a fleet is a capital-intensive venture and would displace a number of workers, it has to be done for the socioeconomic development of a community.
There are three shipowners’ organizations in the country, all based in Cebu: Visayan Association of Ferryboat and Coastwise Service Operators (VAFCSO) under president Alexander Cohon, United Trampers Association of the Philippines (UTAP) headed by Benson Go, and Philippine Roro Association of the Philippines (PROA) chaired by Lucio Lim Jr.
“Without an efficient sea transportation system, we will not be able to market our tourism products. Without the safe roads and bridges, we will not be able to transport our products to its destinations in a timely manner,” Guerrero quoted Tugade.
“Without a safe maritime transportation system, we will be losing cargoes and people at sea. At the same time, we are promoting a clean environment. Majority of our people depend on our sea transportation industry,” Guerrero further said. (SCG)