The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has successfully launched the first shipboard training for its officials and staff on board Kapitan Felix Oca training ship as part of its efforts to gain better understanding of ship operation and improve programs and services for Filipino seafarers particularly in ensuring that their conditions on board are in accordance with the labor and health and safety standards.
Labor and Employment Secretary Marianito D. Roque said that the shipboard immersion is the first in the saga of the DOLE particularly in the employment and over-all welfare of seafarers.
“This is an innovation. This is the first time that we’re doing it and I know that this program will mature towards building the competencies of DOLE people on ship operation and ultimately on making DOLE programs and policies more responsive and relevant to the needs of seafarers and the demands of seafaring industry especially for the development of more Filipino ship officers,” Roque said.
The shipboard immersion also sends a strong message that the DOLE and Maritime Training Council (MTC) in partnership with maritime training agencies are serious about addressing the lack of maritime graduates who will compose the officers at the global shipping that requires 35,000 officers in the next five years.
One hundred forty-six (146) DOLE officials and employees were the first to experience the four-day shipboard familiarization held on February 19 to 22, 2010.
DOLE through the MTC headed by Deputy Administrator Noriel Devanadera organized the shipboard familiarization in partnership with the Maritime Academy of Asia and the Pacific (MAAP).
In 2009, the DOLE established the need of building the maritime competencies of its personnel particularly those from the Bureau of Working Conditions (BWC), NCR (National Capital Region) and Region IV-B (MIMAROPA).
Roque said building the maritime competencies of DOLE people is necessary in view of the DOLE Maritime Convention of 2006 which will be ratified and to be enforced anytime in the next two years. The Maritime Convention provides for labor standards on seafarers which have to be inspected by the DOLE being the authority on the development and enforcement of labor standards.
Late last year, DOLE also spearheaded a Tripartite Meeting with manning agencies, seafarers groups and the Overseas Workers and Welfare Administration (OWWA) and Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and some labor groups of MAAP.
Roque said the success of the familiarization is one manifestation that policy, planning and programming really has evolved relative to demands of the time.
“We want to be more relevant and meaningful in terms of the requirements of the industry and the people,” he said noting that the only way to learn and be responsive to the public and stakeholders is to go out and to connect policy to operations down the line.
Mentors from the academy discussed the different types of ship, the history of T/S Kapitan Oca, deck operation, engine operation, and safety equipments in the ship. Aside from experiencing the boat and fire drills, participants were also given the opportunity to have a tour on the facilities.
The Labor Chief said that, indeed, the program is very significant since it will help the participating agencies and bureaus to assess the needs of the ship operation to provide recommendations on upgrading policy and management and as well as on creating critical mass for competency to ensure global competitiveness of the local maritime industry.
DOLE’s officials and employees who participated were from DOLE-NCR, DOLE IV-A, DOLE IV-B; Bureau of Local Employment (BLE), Bureau of Labor Relations (BLR), and BWC; Occupational Safety and Health Center (OSHC), National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC), National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB), Philippine Regulation Commission (PRC), Institute for Labor Studies (ILS) and the Information and Publication Services (IPS), OWWA, POEA, and MTC.
Assistant Secretary Ma. Joji V. Aragon and POEA Administrator Jennifer Manalili joined the onboard program.
Meanwhile, the Labor Chief expressed his gratitude to the management of the training ship particularly to Shipmaster Capt. Victorino P. Rondain Jr., C/E Cleto Del Rosario, Chiefmate Jorge Dela Cruz and crews for their generosity and providing good accommodation to DOLE.
The T/S Kapitan Felix Oca is operated for cadets of MAAP, students of the AMOSUP Training Center and other maritime schools. It has served under the Philippine Navy for various medical missions.