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PH joins MTWG in Vietnam

October 1, 2022 Jun I. Legaspi 313 views

THE Philippines, through the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and its Maritime sector, shared meaningful moments with ASEAN counterparts as its delegation physically attended the 43rd ASEAN Maritime Transport Working Group Meeting (MTWG) held last week from September 20 to 22, 2022 in Nha Trang, Viet Nam.

The 43rd ASEAN MTWG Meeting, the first in-person meeting of the group since the COVID-19 pandemic, was able to gather delegates from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam. ASEAN was also able to interact with relevant stakeholders, including representatives from China, Japan, Republic of Korea, United States, European Union, and International Maritime Organization.

This ASEAN transport engagement provided an opportunity for the Philippines to highlight its efforts in promoting safe, comfortable, accessible, and efficient maritime transport; exchange views and best practices with other ASEAN Member States on matters of mutual interest; and collaborate with ASEAN dialogue partners and international organizations on possible areas of cooperation and technical assistance.

Consistent with the Department of Transportation’s policy direction to transform the country’s transport system and elevate it to global standards, the Philippines expressed its commitment to ASEAN’s work on enhancing regional partnership and cooperation in the maritime sector.

To contribute to ASEAN MTWG’s strategic goal of establishing a single shipping market,and promoting maritime safety, security and strategic economic corridors within ASEAN, this three-day meeting thoroughly discussed maritime transport priorities under the Kuala Lumpur Transport Strategic Plan 2016-2025, as well as emerging issues such as smart port development, container circulation, maritime decarbonization initiatives.

For its part, the Philippines was able to report on several port improvement programs, green port and shipping initiatives, efforts to support the operation of the Davao/General Santos-Bitung route, and progress of the proposed ASEAN-China Maritime Transport Study. The 43rd MTWG was also updated by the Philippines on its participation to various capacity building programs concerning maritime safety, port security, and marine environment protection.

Together with other ASEAN Member States, the Philippines also conveyed its support for the adoption and endorsement to ASEAN Transport Ministers and Senior Transport Officials of maritime transport deliverables, namely: a) ASEAN Agreement on Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue Cooperation; b) Booklet of Best Practices on Port Security
Measures; and c) Implementation Framework to Enhance Regional Container Circulation.

The Philippine delegation is headed by Engr. Enrico C. Ferre of the Department of Transportation, with support from representatives from the Philippine Ports Authority, Maritime Industry Authority, Philippine Coast Guard, and DOTr-International Cooperation Division.

The 43rd MTWG was preceded by the Celebration of World Maritime Day, where key milestones by all ASEAN Member States in the last two years were shared, highlighting the crucial role that ASEAN has played to support international maritime transport despite the COVID-19 pandemic.