Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Jaime Bautista said the European Commission (EC) will continue to recognize credentials issued by the Philippines for Filipino seafarers, notably marine officers onboard European-registered vessels.

“We are deeply elated by this decision, confirming we have adequately addressed many of the findings of the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA),” Bautista said.

“I have personally reported to President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. that more than 49,000 Filipino marine officers and their families here in the Philippines stand to gain from this decision,” he added.

According to Bautista, the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) has worked tirelessly with its stakeholders to rectify issues in EMSA’s March 2021 final inspection report and EC’s December 2021 evaluation report.

He said the EC lauded the country’s cooperation and welcomed efforts at improving the Philippine system of training and certifying Filipino seafarers, and the DOTr commits to address the remaining areas identified by EC that require further improvement.

“The success of the corrective measures pursued reflects the importance and serious attention that President Marcos has been giving to the Filipino shipping industry. Hence, his earlier directives to improve and continue improving the quality of our seafarers,” he said.

Bautista said the Philippine government welcomes the EC’s offer of technical support to further improve the implementation and oversight of minimum education, training and certification requirements, as well as living and working conditions.

He went on to say that they had assured President Marcos that they are complying with his direction to go beyond the minimum anticipated by international maritime authorities. He said that this was something that they had guaranteed him of.

“This milestone development in the Philippine maritime industry augurs well for the future of Filipino seafarers who comprise the world’s largest maritime labor. Rest assured we will not waver in our efforts to raise the level of expertise of our seamen to international standards,” Bautista said.