The Philippine government will be provided with a €4 million (around P240 million) technical assistance by the European Commission (EC) to help improve the education and training of Filipino seafarers. ![Pinoy seafarers.jpg]( ***(File photo)*** In a statement Saturday, July 2, Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) Executive Director Samuel Batalla said that Philippine maritime officials will discuss with their EC counterparts in Brussels next week the scope of work and how the aid would be utilized, particularly the inclusion of international labor best practices in the scope of the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA). He explained that the technical assistance will be fully financed by the EU-Member States and supervised by the EC Directorate General for Mobility and Transport (DG-MOVE) and DG for International Partnerships (DG-INTPA).  He said it will provide the technical assistance for the training of Filipino seafarers to continue to meet the requirements of the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) Convention. The convention was the first to establish basic requirements on training, certification and watchkeeping for seafarers on an international level. It can be recalled that in April, Marina had said that close to 50,000 jobs for Filipino seafarers working onboard European-flagged vessels were saved after the EC decided to continue the recognition of Philippine-issued STCW certificates for seafarers as the country demonstrated “progress and improvements” as regards to its compliance with the requirements of the STCW Convention.  This, after 16 years of the country’s repeated failure to hurdle the evaluation of EMSA. “The technical assistance will also include aspects of Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) 2006, specifically in areas of recruitment and placement of Filipino seafarers,” Batalla added. The MARINA executive explained that the inclusion of MLC 2006 seeks to expand the program, which aims not only to ensure compliance with the STCW Convention but also to share best practices relating to other international conventions concerning seafaring and the maritime industry in general. Batalla added that the EC will evaluate the country's state of play on the implementation of the corrective actions addressing the grievances noted by the commission before the start of the program of technical assistance in 2024, giving EC an opportunity to identify the specific assistance needed by the Philippines. “To effectively carry out the technical assistance in a pragmatic manner, EC experts will be assisted by independent technical experts with no conflict of interest in the country,” Batalla added.

Source: Manila Bulletin (