Duterte forms inter-agency council for IMO audit scheme

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has created an inter-agency council on the International Maritime Organization Member State Audit Scheme (IMSAS) in a bid to ensure compliance to its obligations.

Executive Order (EO) 84, signed by Duterte on July 2, 2019, mandates the inter-agency council on IMSAS to "implement and comply with all the policies and issuances pertaining to the implementation of the IMO instruments in an integrated manner."

The Philippines will undergo the IMSAS in 2021 and every seven years thereafter.

"To ensure strict and full compliance with the commitments and obligations of the Philippines as a member state of the IMO, both at the policy and technical levels, there is a need to carefully plan, manage, direct, coordinate and monitor the corresponding efforts of relevant national government agencies and instrumentalities," it added.

On December 4, 2013, the IMO Assembly instituted IMSAS which covers safety of life at sea; prevention of pollution from ships; standards of training, certification and watchkeeping of seafarers; load lines; tonnage measurement of ships; and regulations for preventing collisions at sea.

The EO was issued in the wake of the June 9 allision between a Filipino fishing boat that was anchored near Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea and a Chinese fishing vessel.

EO 84 delegates the Transportation Secretary and Maritime Indsutry Authority (Marina) administrator as the inter-agency council's chairperson and vice chairperson, respectively.

Members include representatives from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), and Cebu Port Authority (CPA).

The inter-agency council on IMSAS is mandated to "effectively and carefully" plan, manage and monitor the efforts of national government agencies and instrumentalities involved in the implementation of applicable IMO instruments pertaining to the IMSAS's coverage.

It is also tasked to ensure the adoption of rules and regulations implementing the provisions, requirements and technical annexes of applicable international instruments, as well as future amendments thereto.

The order also directs the inter-agency council to review, approve and implement a National Work Programme (NWP) and adopt mechanisms to ensure that international obligations and responsibilities of the Philippines as a flag, port and coastal State are fully satisfied.

EO 84 provides that the inter-agency council on IMSAS will be assisted by a technical working group responsible for providing technical support on specific subjects of the IMSAS.

The technical working group will be chaired by Transportation assistant secretary for Maritime and vice chaired by Marina deputy administrator for operations.

Other members include representatives from DFA; PCG; PPA; CPA; Commission on Higher Education; National Mapping and Resource Information Authority; Environmental Management Bureau; Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources; Office for Transportation Security; and Philippine National Police Maritime Group.

The technical working group is instructed to develop and submit to the council and NWP on the implementation of the releevant IMO instruments, which should include the delineation of roles and responsibilities, institutional arrangements, and identification of resource requirements.

It is also ordered to develop a monitoring mechanism to assess the progress of implementation of IMO instruments.

Under EO 84, the Department of Transportation is required to submit annual reports on the implementation of the order to the Office of the Executive Secretary.

All other government offices and agencies are directed to render "prompt and necessary" assistance, consistent with their respective mandates, to fully implement EO 84.

The initial funding requirements for the implementation of EO 84 will be charged against sources that will be identified by the Budget department. The necessary funding for succeeding years will be incorporated in the annual budget proposals of the member-agencies through the General Appropriations Act.

Palace released a copy of the EO on Thursday, July 4, 2019. (SunStar Philippines)


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