ANGKLA volunteer Leslie Suntay flashes a thumbs up sign with the Bicol Merchant Marine College, Inc.
Anchor for Excellence Maritime Quiz Bee winners in Sorsogon.
ANGKLA is an organization of maritime and legal experts, who are propelled by their shared desire of implementing relevant maritime policies and programs through appropriate legislation. It represents Filipino seafarers, shipbuilders, naval architects, and other stakeholders from ancillary maritime services. The first party to serve as the voice of the maritime sector, ANGKLA is represented by Congressman Jesulito (Jess) A. Manalo in the 16th Congress.
Leading ANGKLA’s formidable list of nominees is incumbent ANGKLA Representative Jesulito A. Manalo. Cong. Manalo, a son of a ship captain, is a maritime lawyer. Next in the roster is Capt. Ronaldo Enrile, who is affiliated with the private sector. Completing the list are Atty. Augusto Perez, Jr., Chief Engineer Petercon A. Lugue, and Atty. Bernadette Yanzon-Blanco as third, fourth, and fifth nominees, respectively.
Maritime voice indispensable
Speaking to BICOL STANDARD, Manalo reiterated the significance of the maritime industry. “The maritime industry incessantly needs a voice in Congress, which would constantly champion the various concerns of the industry, and guarantee it the attention and importance it deserves,” Manalo said.
“Thus, in ANGKLA, we are always adamant in our efforts at promoting that the industry be always included in the main agenda of the Philippine government, and be made part of the political, economic and social consciousness of the country and its people,” he continued.
Despite being a neophyte in Congress, ANGKLA’s Rep. Manalo was able to pass landmark legislations such as RA 10635 (Single Maritime Administration Law), which ensures that the knowledge, training, and certiﬁcation of Filipino seafarers are compliant with global standards and requirements; RA 10668 (Foreign Ships Co-loading Act), which implements a more effective and less expensive inter-island shipping of goods; RA 10698 (Naval Architecture Modernization Law), which further develops shipbuilding and ship repair in the Philippines, as another potential source of employment opportunities; and RA 10706 (Seafarers’ Protection Act), which provides full protection of Filipino seafarers against unconscionable legal fees pertaining to their claims against death, occupational hazards and illnesses.
Social Welfare Programs
Apart from performing its legislative mandate, ANGKLA also catered to the needs of its constituents through its social programs. ANGKLA provided P28M in scholarship grants and educational assistance to 2,514 students in various academic institutions in the country. It was able to give various trainings, maritime or otherwise, to seafarers and relatives, amounting to P30M. It also extended a total of P16.3M in medical assistance to ailing seafarers and their families.
Other Maritime Achievements
ANGKLA was able to secure around P730M in funding in order to improve our existing maritime facilities and to make the processing of the seafarers’ certification requirements more efficient.
It worked on the additional budget of MARINA for 2015 in the amount of P300 Million for the construction of its main office. It also initiated the setting-up of MARINA regional processing centers in at least three regions largely populated with seafarers, namely, Region VI (Iloilo), Region VII (Cebu) and Region XVIII (Negros Island Region). To this end, ANGKLA assured the inclusion of P180M in the budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). ANGKLA likewise pioneered the construction of multi-purpose halls and/or recreational centers, amounting to P120M, in about 43 municipalities in the different parts of the Philippines where numerous seafarers reside.
Aside from these, ANGKLA also infused P130M in Marina’s budget to ensure that the Seafarers Identity Document (SID) it issues will be International Labor Organization (ILO)-compliant.
ANGKLA in Bicol
ANGKLA has been active in elevating the standards of maritime education in the Bicol. It has hosted the Anchor for Excellence Maritime Quiz Bee, which was participated in by four maritime schools across Bicolandia, namely: Mariners Polytechnic Foundation-Canaman, Bicol Merchant Marine College, Inc., University of Saint Anthony, and University of North Eastern Philippines.
Apart from this, ANGKLA has also awarded scholarship grants to Bicolano maritime students.