MANILA - Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade said Friday the Philippines is committed to become an "effective" partner and a "maritime nation," amplifying the crucial role Filipino seafarers play in the industry especially in times of crisis.
Tugade made the remark during a virtual gathering of maritime leaders on Sept. 24, the Department of Transportation said in a statement.
“Our aspiration towards becoming a more developed maritime nation will grow with the years. We can assure you that. I am deeply grateful for your support and faith in us as we shape the Philippines into a maritime nation, ready to forge ahead with a remarkable and global impact,” Tugade said.
Filipino seafarers have greatly contributed to the maritime industry, the official said.
Many overseas Filipino workers are sea-based working for shipping companies and the cruise industry and are among the primary sources of remittances in the country.
The Philippines has been providing the international shipping industry with mariners "for decades." Out of the estimated 1.5 million seafarers worldwide, over 370,000 or 25 percent are Filipinos, the DOTr said.
“Filipino seafarers carry with them the values of dedication, resiliency, discipline, and excellence, and that the country will continue to strengthen itself as a maritime nation,” Tugade said.
The Philippines has activated 3 crew-change hubs in the country as safe and efficient processing of seafarers, Tugade said, adding that 3 more would be activated in the next month.
Validity of trainings, certificates and record books were also extended to ensure unhampered deployment and crew during the coronavirus pandemic, he said.
Tugade said the Philippines has also ramped up maritime infrastructure with 369 port projects completed since 2016.