PRESIDENTIAL candidates Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso and former Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales have pledged to advance the interests of the shipping industry even after the May 9 elections.
The commitment was made during the culminating session of the webinar series titled “Vista Maritima: Elections and Beyond” on April 22, where both presidential candidates made strong statements to work with stakeholders in industry to solve the pressing problems of the maritime industry.
Vista Maritima was organized by the Movement for the Maritime Philippines (MMP). It aims to educate candidates in upcoming polls on the national maritime agenda, hoping they will champion it once elected.
The webinar saw significant gains as industry stakeholders uncover potential industry champions both in Congress and within the executive branch. Moreno and Gonzales are among the latest to become proponents of the shipping industry.
In response to the issues mentioned by FastCat President Mary Ann Pastrana, Moreno promised to review port dues and other regulatory fees that are among the challenges faced by shipowners and operators of domestically traded vessels.
Manila’s chief executive also spoke forcefully about the current shipbuilding setup, ironically saying that new ships built overseas get tax incentives, but ships built by local shipbuilders that generate jobs do not. .
“If we import, free buwis, but it didn’t produce jobs. But when we produce parang pasan natin ang daigdig and it creates stable jobs, parang salungat,” Moreno said.
Gonzales, on the other hand, was candid in admitting that he didn’t study the industry well. After the initial discussion, however, he realized the vast potential of the industry and concluded that “the maritime industry is not just a mainstay but a strategic pillar for the economic development of the country”.
Equally important, the former Secretary of Defense has a deeper appreciation for investing in the country’s human resources, particularly in education and training, as this is one of the foundations of building ‘a nation of the first world.’
Philippine Association of Maritime Institutions (PAMI) President Czar Manglicmot called on the two candidates, if elected, to help maritime schools in the form of tax incentives, a training ship and loans on favorable terms from the government to acquire training materials, but Gonzales insisted. in his response.
“Para kang nakikiusap, namamalimos ng inyong gagamitin para sa seamen training. Hindi tayo papayag in the whole situation; we will build a level of education that is on par with the best in the world.
“As far as the training of our sailors goes, it should be the best in the world,” Gonzales said.
MMP President Dr. Merle San Pedro was very grateful to Moreno and Gonzales for gracing Vista Maritima’s fourth webinar and called on them to continue collaborations with the industry regardless of the election outcome.
“Kami po is hindi lang tumitingin sa panahong ito (elections), kaya sana po patuloy by the ugnayan. Matalo, manalo sana po patuloy by the shipping industry,” San Pedro said.
“This final leg of Vista Maritima serves as a culminating MMP activity aimed at raising awareness of our maritime vision of “an integrated, global maritime industry with Filipino-built, owned, operated and manned vessels that connect islands and people, create wealth and generate jobs’ for economic progress and national security,” she stressed.
Sector representatives during the webinar series presented the current status and issues of the country’s maritime education and training sector, including the concerns of the international community regarding the EMSA audit, the challenges of inland navigation; and issues in the staffing and shipbuilding industries during this pandemic.
In cooperation with FastCat, Seaversity and the Sailors’ Polytechnic College Foundation of Legaspi, the education campaign among candidates for the upcoming elections in May has proven to be quite successful as it has converted some candidates to Senate seats and lists of gone as future champions and defenders. maritime matters to Congress if elected.
Apart from the candidates from the Angkla party list, Atty. Jesulito Manalo and Captain Ronald Enrile, other would-be lawmakers who have sworn to bring the shipping industry cudgels to Congress include famed broadcaster Dr Carl Balita, who has assured the industry of his unequivocal support for education and to maritime training, and former Bayan Muna representative Neri Colmenares, who spoke about the possible impact of the amended law on the civil service.
Former senators Francis Escudero, Loren Legarda and Samira Gutuc, all vying for a seat in the Senate, were the first guests to grace the opening salvo of the Vista Maritima webinars which initially focused on the issue of protecting the environment and women’s rights in the workplace.
Other Senate candidates who have graced the following webinars include Senator Ana Theresia “Riza” Hontiveros, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian and Alex Lacson.