Source:  Inquirer

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has called on the maritime sector to upgrade safety and security strategies as well as infrastructure, in line with the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2011-2016.
Assistant director-general Ruperto P. Majuca said in a statement that the government aims to promote investments in the shipbuilding industry by focusing on identified markets such as Korea and Japan.
By 2014, NEDA expects investments in the industry to grow by P93 billion.
“With this development, the Philippines could be the fourth-largest shipbuilding nation in the world in the next five to 10 years,” Majuca said.
Aside from this, Majuca said that the government would continue to explore the development of port facilities through public-private partnership (PPP).
“Identified port development projects through PPP would help boost tourism by servicing interisland and international cruise vessels. Postharvest facility projects would also include development of port or transport facilities, in terms of handling agricultural products,” explained Majuca.
Majuca said the PDP 2011-2016 endeavors to ensure a safe, secure, integrated, and coordinated transport network, including improving the country’s roll-on roll-off (Ro-Ro) terminal system that will enhance interisland logistics.
Majuca noted that the maritime sector has been plagued by more than 160 accidents per year over the last decade.
“The maritime industry needs to update regularly its safety and security standards and strictly implement them, to keep up with international benchmarks and practices,” Majuca said.
Beyond updating policies, there should be advancements in transportation infrastructure, which are crucial in boosting infrastructure development and the services sector, Majuca said.
Majuca said that in compliance with international maritime security standards, the Philippines has adopted the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code.
“Vessel Traffic Management Systems have been installed in some ports in Manila, Corregidor Island and Batangas, and additional ones are being planned in the country’s other ports,” Majuca said.
During the 17th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit in Vietnam last year, Majuca said, one of the flagship programs identified under the Master Plan on Asean Connectivity is a Ro-Ro network that will explore sea linkages in the region.
“In line with this, the government is reviewing the development of existing Ro-Ro ports to accommodate international Ro-Ro ships, as well as the necessary regulatory framework to promote such service,” Majuca said.
Other existing ports located in areas outside Metro Manila will also be promoted to open opportunities to worldwide shipping in the new areas.