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NMP-JICA: Reigniting ties for maritime excellence

NMP-JICA partnership

By National Maritime Polytechnic
February 19, 2024

TACLOBAN CITY The National Maritime Polytechnic (NMP) headed by its Executive Director Victor A. Del Rosario paid a courtesy visit with the Chief Representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) on 14 February 2024 aiming to revive the long-standing partnership with JICA and support NMP's strategic goal of upgrading NMP Tacloban and expanding in Luzon and Mindanao.

Executive Director Del Rosario extended heartfelt thanks to the Government of Japan and JICA for their pivotal role in NMP's journey, from its inception through the challenging times post-Typhoon Yolanda. He highlighted the transformative impact of JICA's grant aid, which was instrumental in fast-tracking NMP's recovery by upgrading damaged infrastructure with cutting-edge training simulators and equipment.

Chief Representative Sakamoto Takema mentioned that he was able to visit NMP Tacloban twice and commended NMP for its diligent upkeep of the training simulators and facilities provided by JICA. He underscored the significance of the Philippines as an esteemed collaborator in JICA's global development endeavors.

Mr. Sakamoto emphasized JICA's commitment in supporting NMP's strategic goals while recognizing the need to align with the national priorities set by the Philippine government. He recommended that NMP engage in discussions with key governmental bodies such as the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the Department of Finance (DOF), and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), facilitated through the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW).

He advised presenting comprehensive documentation, including a situational analysis or a pre-feasibility study that encompasses detailed information on the maritime industry's landscape, such as the shipping sector, the significant role of seafarers, and the employment and demographic profiles of Filipino seafarers. Moreover, the study should outline the employment results of NMP's certified trainees and the anticipated outcomes of the project. He proposed that NMP advocate for the inclusion of these initiatives in the Philippine government's priority agenda, ensuring its strategic objectives are recognized and supported at the national level.

NMP ED Del Rosario apprised JICA on NMP's proactive steps, working in collaboration with NEDA to craft a comprehensive Feasibility Study aimed at shaping a Master Plan. This strategic blueprint is focused on guiding NMP's expansion efforts across Luzon and Mindanao. Upon finalization, NMP plans to engage and advocate with key government entities for prioritization of this initiative. He voiced confidence in garnering governmental backing, especially in light of President Bongbong Marcos's endorsement of the 10-year Maritime Industry Development Plan (MIDP) 2028, anticipating a significant boost for NMP's strategic goals. Del Rosario looked forward to entering into more detailed discussions with JICA to further this agenda.

JICA also highlighted its continued collaboration with the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), focusing on delivering training, and providing access to vessels and bay facilities. This partnership extends engagements with the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW), aimed to address the workforce needs of Japan's aging society, particularly in the maritime sector. With Filipino seafarers making up 80% of the crew in most Japanese vessels, JICA see this as a synergistic relationship that benefits both countries, underscoring the strategic importance of the collaboration in fostering a skilled maritime workforce.

In his reply, ED Del Rosario highlighted NMP's ongoing partnership with the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), focusing on the provision of faculty development courses. He mentioned plans to streamline collaboration by consolidating multiple agreements into a single Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). This initiative aims to standardize the terms and enhance the efficiency of partnership, acknowledging the widespread engagement across various PCG units with NMP. Furthermore, he expressed NMP's eagerness to participate in the collaborative efforts between JICA and PCG, inviting opportunities for NMP to contribute purposively. Del Rosario requested to be informed about areas where NMP's involvement could add value, showcasing its willingness to support and expand the scope of partnership.

NMP expressed gratitude to JICA for the invitation and requested details of the training program to assess if its current staff meet the requisite standards. Moreover, NMP extended an open invitation to other JICA officials to visit its facilities and equipment at their convenience, offering a firsthand view of NMP's operational environment and capabilities.