President Rodrigo R. Duterte has issued an Executive Order (EO) re-establishing a maritime inter-agency committee, which will improve policy on shipping safety, marine environment protection, and the training of seafarers.

Signed on Dec. 28, EO No. 159 reconstitutes the Inter-Agency Coordinating Committee on the Ratification and Implementation of Maritime Conventions (ICCRIMC) and renames it the Inter-Agency Coordinating Committee to Facilitate the Ratification and Accession to and Implementation of Maritime Conventions (ICCFRAIMC).

EO 159 also prescribes an integrated approach in ratifying and acceding to international maritime conventions and instruments.

According to the EO, “the country strives to become a major maritime nation that (puts a) premium (on) the protection of life and the marine environment, enhancement of the level of safety of shipping, and the advancement of the standards of training, certification and watchkeeping for seafarers.”

In 2015, the Department of Transportation founded the ICCRIMC to monitor developments and consider Philippine participation in new international maritime conventions.

The ICCFRAIMC will be tasked to “consider new international maritime conventions for possible ratification or accession, conduct a national interest analysis for the purpose, and study measures needed to satisfy convention requirements, as well as the implications on the established maritime operations in the country.”

The committee will be chaired by a representative from the Department of Transportation, while the vice chair will be designated by the Department of Foreign Affairs, according to the EO.

The committee will also have representatives from the Department of Science and Technology (DoST), the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), the Cebu Port Authority, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). – Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson