CONGRESS WITHDRAWS BILL CONVERTING NMP INTO PMMA VISAYAS EXTENSION CAMPUS
TACLOBAN CITY – Cagayan de Oro Representative, Atty. Rufus B. Rodriguez withdrew his authored House Bill No. 6367, an Act Converting the National Maritime Polytechnic (NMP) in Tacloban City into the Philippine Merchant Marine Academy (PMMA) Visayas Extension Campus during the eighteenth meeting of the Committee on Higher and Technical Education (CHTE) on 07 August 2020, 1:30 pm via Zoom.
It can be recalled that NMP has time and again been plagued with propositions to be merged with or to be under other departments and offices outside of its mother agency, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
With the aim of making quality maritime education free and accessible to people with less opportunity, Rep. Rodriguez introduced House Bill No. 6367, transforming NMP into PMMA’s Visayas Extension Campus knowing that the latter offers free tuition and other school fees as per Republic Act No. 10931 otherwise known as the Universal Access to Quality tertiary Education Act.
NMP clearly pointed out on its position paper that converting NMP into another maritime education will not solve the dearth of qualified merchant marine officers, especially management level officers (both deck and engine) and shifting its core service from offering of upgrading training and specialization courses to offering the basic education requirement to becoming a seafarer, Bachelor of Science in Marine Transportation (BSMT) and Bachelor of Science in Marine Engineering (BSMarE). It will leave solely to the private sector the provision of training interventions which will prove unfavorable to the interests of the seafarers in particular and the maritime industry in general. NMP, therefore, is a stabilizer in the maritime training sector.
Moreover, the training simulators and other equipment procured by NMP and some others that were donated to NMP to support the training activities will no longer serve its purpose and can be considered as an investment going to waste. Collaborative and partnership initiatives by both the government and private sectors is now a must to maximize the resources of both institutions to ensure that the Philippines is not only the major provider of seafarers, but a seafarer workforce who are the “choice seafarers” and are globally-competent and qualified. Thus, human capital development cannot be solely the responsibility of the private sector, even if such is regulated by the government.
“We have no objection to the vision of Congress of expanding PMMA to the Visayas and Mindanao. However, we would like to reinforce our stand that NMP as a learning institution that provides world-class education and training to Filipinos, which purpose is aligned with the mandate of DOLE to promote gainful opportunities and develop human resources, consistent with its mandate as stipulated in Presidential Decree No. 1369”, said NMP Executive Director Joel B. Maglunsod during the CHTE online meeting.
ED Maglunsod also added, “NMP is also planning to establish a satellite office in Cebu and Mindanao to provide an alternative maritime training center that provides accessible, affordable yet quality maritime trainings.”
“After they have given the position paper, I see the light that the PMMA should not anymore convert NMP to be part of them. I see their vision of being able to also open other satellite schools that they will manage. So I am now withdrawing practically my bill because in due deference and in respect to NMP who has given their position paper objecting to my bill. So, I therefore reiterate my motion to table this, meaning that it will not be discussed anymore, it’s a dead bill”, Rep. Rodriguez disclosed.
Based on the above premises, NMP strongly maintain its stance that it should remain as a maritime training institution under DOLE by virtue of Executive Order No. 126 (“Reorganizing the Ministry of Labor and Employment and for Other Purposes) promulgated on 30 January 1987, for policy and program coordination and administrative supervision as an attached agency. It shall continue to pursue its mandate under PD 1369 and continue to be a strategic partner of the maritime administration in the pursuit of maritime training, assessment and research.
Meanwhile, in its effort to sustain its mandate in providing quality service through upgrading and specialized training programs, NMP continues to maintain and upgrade its facilities and its pool of competent instructors. Those Interested to take the training courses may visit the NMP website @ www.nmp.gov.ph or visit the agency’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ nmptrainingcenter) where all updates and relevant information on NMP programs are available.
Interested stakeholders who wish to validate the authenticity of their seafarers-employed with NMP issued certificates may visit www.verify.nmp.gov.ph. Likewise, those interested in NMP research undertakings may visit the NMP website and access the e-Research Information System Portal which is designed to disseminate NMP completed researches, present the Research Agenda, and engage the industry stakeholders to collaborate in the research activities.
Further, NMP encourages OWWA registered seafarers to avail of the NMP-OWWA (Overseas Workers Welfare Administration) Seafarers’ Upgrading Program (SUP) and Skills for Employment Scholarship Program (SESP) which entitles the beneficiary to receive financial assistance for training costs from the OWWA.