Maritime stakeholders reiterated their support to retired Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero as the new administrator of the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) even as they advised him to fill up key vacancies in the agency with people of known competence and expertise in running the affairs of the agency.

The 53,000-strong United Filipino Seafarers (UFS), through its president Engineer Nelson Ramirez, pointed out that they have the utmost trust in the President’s decision and as well as in Guerrero ‘s leadership and capability to lead Marina to new heights as the country’s single maritime administration solely responsible for overseeing the country’s compliance with international safety convention.

“We are not in disagreement in your capacity to run Marina, but given the fact that you are not well-rounded in the ins and outs of the maritime industry, we believe what you need now are equally commendable personnel that would help you in shaping your every decisions in running Marina,” said Ramirez in a letter to Guerrero.

President Duterte, in his speech during the change of command ceremony at Camp Aguinaldo last Friday, directed Guerrero to immediately take over the leadership of the Marina which has been left vacant last December by former Administrator Marcial Amaro 3rd.

 The President has appointed last month Nannette Villamor-Dinopol as Marina deputy administrator, but the second post for the same position remains vacant.

There is also no officially appointed Marina executive director and deputy director for Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) except for an officer-in-charge (OIC) who handles both positions in concurrent capacity.

Earlier, the Movement for Maritime Philippines (MMP), an umbrella organization of stakeholders in the maritime industry, also called on the President to immediately fill up the various sensitive positions in Marina with competent and knowledgeable people who can address the issues and problems hounding the maritime sector.

The group stressed that it is important that the vacant posts in Marina must be filled up considering the importance of the maritime industry to the Philippines as a maritime/archipelagic nation, and to Filipino seafarers who brings billions of pesos worth of remittances to the government coffers.

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