TACLOBAN CITY – Following the approval of its Post-Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) Training Operations Protocol by the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) and productive coordination with the respective Local Government Units (LGU), the National Maritime Polytechnic (NMP), a government-owned maritime training and research institution, resumes its training operations on 20 July 2020 both at its main office at Brgy. Cabalawan, Tacloban City and liaison office with address at 2nd Floor ECC Building, 355 Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue Makati City.

It can be recalled that NMP suspended the conduct of its trainings on 16 March 2020 in line with the declaration of state of public health emergency in the Philippines due to the outbreak of COVID-19 and in compliance to MARINA Advisory No. 2020-16 suspending the conduct of all maritime training courses as well as theoretical and practical assessments in Luzon and other areas affected by the community quarantine.

Since the outbreak, the National Maritime Polytechnic (NMP), has been taking precautionary measures to safeguard the safety and health of the public and personnel. Health precautionary measures/protocols were established.  Clients were subjected to temperature scanning and footbath before entry. NMP personnel were provided with medical-grade personal protective equipment (PPEs) such as facemask (surgical, N95), face shield, and hazmat.

To aid in any tracking, all clients were obliged to accomplish the NMP Health Monitoring Form indicating the following basic information: name, contact numbers, address, person to notify in case of emergency, and travel history within the last six (6) months. They were also required to present a valid certification issued by their respective City/Municipal/ Rural Health Office stating that they have completed quarantine or are COVID-free.

Also, to prevent, contain, and mitigate the possible transmission of virus, cleaning and disinfection supplies/equipment (disinfectant alcohol, chlorine, hand soap and sprayers) were procured and hand washing facilities were established.  Sanitizers and signages promoting proper hand washing, cough etiquette, and proper social / physical distancing were put up in conspicuous and strategic places.

NMP Maritime Training Express Registration System Kiosks (MTERS) were also installed to process enrollment of walk-in trainees and to minimize face to face transaction.

Moreover, isolation rooms were identified for trainees who will become unwell or have developed COVID-19 symptoms, and NMP Sick Bay was equipped with appropriate medical supplies and manned by an Emergency response personnel who is always on duty while training is on-going.

In terms of classroom arrangements, class intake was reduced to 12 trainees per course or 50% of the previous maximum capacity, to effectively observe 1-meter apart guidelines of World Health Organization (WHO) and health and safety briefing is conducted before the start of training / assessment.

Anticipating these possibilities, NMP conducted repair, improvement, and expansion of its classrooms.  Divisions / partitions were also installed to accommodate larger number of trainees.

All these initiatives were done during the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) period where NMP Executive Director Joel B. Maglunsod directly supervised.

It can be noted that with the suspension of NMP’s training operations on 16 March 2020, several on-going trainings were halted, and onward schedules were suspended. Upon its resumption on 20 July 2020, enrollment of those affected enrollees was given priority.

After months of lockdown, NMP regained momentum on its first week (20-25 July 2020) with a total of one hundred forty-seven (147) certificates issued, this, despite of NMP’s restrictions on the acceptance of enrollees, only those coming from Region 8 were allowed enrollment.

In the interim, with the aim of providing a safer alternative and cost-effective solution to ensure that Filipino seafarers can renew mandatory certificates and maintain their competence during these extraordinary times, NMP is conducting an on-going review of its existing training courses to identify those that can be transformed into purely online and blended learning.

In preparation for the online learning, NMP took a proactive stance in carrying out personnel interventions to its trainers by providing workshop on the familiarization on the use of Google Classroom and Google Meet applications. Online registration is also underway to answer the need for the contactless payment and registration being recommended by the MARINA.

Meanwhile, NMP’s Training Schedule for July to December was released last 17 July 2020. The complete schedule can be downloaded at the NMP website www.nmp.gov.ph and facebook page (www.facebook.com/nmptrainingcenter) where the training requirements and other related information 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.