The Maritime Training Council, or MTC, was established on May 1, 1984 by virtue of Letter of Instruction No. 1404, issued by then President Ferdinand E. Marcos in keeping with the Philippine’s commitments as a signatory to the International Maritime Organization’s 1978 Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, or STCW ’78. Amended in 1995, the Convention is now more commonly called as STCW ’95. On January 11, 1984, the Philippines submitted to the IMO its Instrument of Accession to the Convention.
The MTC is attached to the Ministry of Labor and Employment (now the Department of Labor and Employment) for administrative and policy control. It is headed by the DOLE Secretary who acts as Chairperson, and who traditionally assigns an Undersecretary to act as Presiding Chair. The Council has for its members the heads of the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), the Bureau of Higher Education (now the Commission on Higher Education, or CHED), the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), the Welfare Fund Administration (now the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration or OWWA), and the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC). A representative from the private sector (each from maritime employers and seafarers, respectively,) also sits as Council members. A Secretariat, headed by an Executive Director, assisted by a deputy, handles the day-to-day operation of the MTC.
Under LOI No. 1404, the MTC shall perform the following functions:
It was only on October 12, 1986, or over two years after, that the Implementing Rules and Regulations of LOI 1404 were formulated. The IRR spelt out the rules and functions of the MTC’s member-agencies in order to fulfill the country’s obligations to the STCW ’78 Convention. On January 30, 1997m then President Fidel V. Ramos issued Executive Order No. 396, “Providing for the Institutional Framework for the Administration of Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers in the Philippines”. The order also further defined the responsibility of the MARINA in the implementation of the STCW Convention.
On September 27, 1999, then President Joseph Ejercito Estrada issued Executive Order No. 149, which created under the MTC an Executive Committee headed by the MARINA to assist the Council in its policy-making task. The Executive Committee members are also the agency-members of the Council, except for the Department of Health (DOH) and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC). Two months later, or on November 9, 1999, the MTC issued Resolution No. 10, revising the Implementing Rules and Regulations of LOI No. 1404. On May 12, 2000, President Estrada issued Executive Order No. 242 “Harmonizing the Institutional Framework in the Administration of the International Convention on the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers”. E.O. No. 242 expanded the members of the Council to include the Office of the President and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). It further strengthened the MTC by expanding its functions, to wit:
Sometime in 2003, then DOLE Secretary Patricia Sto. Tomas further strengthened the MTC when she said that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has given an instruction to the effect that all matters dealing with “software” in the maritime sector (seafarers) should be directly under the supervision of the DOLE, while the “hardware” (ships, shipyards, etc.) shall be under the supervision of the Department of Transportation and Communication.
Today, as it vigorously pursues its mandate through its seafarer programs and projects, the MTC, ever ready and aware, also continues to strengthen its coordinative efforts with other government agencies concerned and involved in the implementation of the STCW ’95 Convention. It continues to work closely as well with the private sector and international organizations, notably the IMO, so it can enhance its capability to outfit the Filipino seafarer with knowledge and skills needed to sustain his reputation as one of, if not, the world’s best in the global maritime market.
It also constantly pursues innovative processes and strategies to increase its capacity to be of service to its primary customer – the Filipino seafarer. As a government agency, it strives to the utmost to adhere to the good governance practices of honesty, integrity, accountability and transparency, knowing that at the end of the day, it is these values that serve best the national interest.