MARINA Not a Certificate-Issuing Body -- MTC
BY Andy Dalisay
Philstar, 02 August 2001

The Maritime Training Council (MTC) doubts the stand taken by the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) in invoking an executive order that has laid its basis in drafting a memorandum of understanding it initiated many years ago for recognition of seafarers certificate of other countries.

"How can Marina invoke Executive Order No. 230 series of 1985 when there was no Regulation I/10 in the STCW Convention in the year 1985 for the simple reason that the convention has not yet been amended," the MTC said in its position paper on Marina's opposition to the model MOU. Regulation I/10 is a 1995 amendment to the 1978 STCW Convention or 10 years after issuing EO 230.

Responding to the MOI objection, MTC officials insisted that the MTC is the agency responsible to other flag states with respect to the Philippine compliance with the STCW Convention as amended, including compliance with Regulation I/10.

It states that any administration will approve an MOU that will not prejudice its interest, citing the Professional Regulation Commission as an example, being the certificate issuing authority for marine officers. PRC also received communications from other flag states concerning bilateral agreement, but instead of unilaterally acting on the document, this was forwarded to the MTC in deference to the issuance of the Office of the President.

Because of Marina's attitude toward the issue, MTC officials have branded the Marina management of wanting to "arrogate unto itself functions which are not expressly provided" by law. "They are not competent to determine the validity of the contents of certificates which did not emanate from it. Marina is not a certificate issuing authority," according to the MTC.

While Marina claimed that the issue of recognizing certificates of seafarers is its "inherent function and therefore not an express mandate," its officials have accused the MTC of "arrogating unto itself functions which are well within the express mandate of government agencies" like Marina.

The dispute between the two state agencies has brought the same issue they fought over prior to the submission of Philippine Report to the IMO in the country to make it to the IMO's White List of complying states last year.

The squabble put the Philippines in gaining the most number of clarificatory issues from the IMO panel of competent persons, thus delaying the approval of the report due to an overhaul of the country report because of Marina's analogues position on the issue.

"Marina cannot feign ignorance on the self explanatory January 2000 clarificatory issues raised by the panel of competent persons," the MTC stated.

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