In sharp contrast to its performance at the 16th Congress, lawmakers failed to pass any maritime bills in the 17th Congress as the new Congress formally starts its business this July.

Members of the 17th Congress has officially wrapped up its work last month, but the proposed maritime bills especially those filed by Angkla Rep. Jesulito Manalo were left unfinished.

In the previous Congress, it chalked up one maritime-related law after another. It passed a total of five including Republic Act No. 10635 which centralizes the enforcement of STCW Convention to the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA).

In the 17th Congress, although Rep. Manalo also exerted extra efforts in pushing for several critical maritime bills, which he principally authored, the outgoing partylist lawmaker could only do so much.

Perhaps among the most important of these measures was the bill that seeks to provide for full and effective enforcement of international maritime instruments of which the Philippines is a signatory.

The bill, which was approved by the House of Representatives on December 3, 2018 and was transmitted to the Senate on the next day, is critical since it would have served as the enabling law or national law for the five international conventions.

The enabling law is necessary for the country’s full compliance with the following international conventions: (More…)

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