06 November 2014

MOA signed empowering SBMA, 3 more port authorities to require security compliance

CITING terrorism as the number one threat in transportation, four port authorities yesterday signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Office for Transportation Security (OTS) on the issuance of security certification for Philippine-registered vessels and port facilities.

The MOA will further empower Cebu Port Authority (CPA), Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (Ceza) and Regional Ports Management Authority (RPMA) of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in requiring security compliance of port operators and in imposing penalties on violations.

The MOA was signed by OTS Administrator Roland Recomono, CPA General Manager Edmund Tan, Jerome Martinez for SBMA, Dhart Carpio for Ceza and Hanie Bud for RPMA.


Under the MOA, and in the case of Cebu, a vessel owner or port operator will submit a security plan, such as X-ray machine for passenger screening and manual screening of cargoes, to CPA. The CPA will review and assess the plan and, if in order, endorse it to OTS for second review and approval.

Once the OTS approves the plan, it will assign an oversight team to monitor compliance. If the plan has been complied with, then the OTS will issue a certificate of compliance.

Reconomo said the security plan and compliance must be in accordance with Chapter XI-2 of the Safety of Life at Sea 74 and the International Standard for Port Facilities Security, both imposed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Abaya’s message

The signing was witnessed by Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) Undersecretary Jualianito Bucayan Jr., port officials, port operators, shipping lines owners and operators, and other maritime industry stakeholders.

In DOTC Secretary Antonio Abaya’s message read by Bucayan, Abaya said sea transport and maritime infrastructure and the public are living in an era where the ever-changing threats of violence can impact our daily lives at any time.

“As a consequence, we have to find ways of trying to prevent the atrocities that might take place by having mechanism to respond should disaster strike,” Abaya said.

“Terrorism existed yesterday, occurs today and will persist tomorrow. Terrorists have continued to target the transportation system to publicize their cause or ideology. We are all witness to the emergence of global attacks in the recent past to the security and safety of our riding public either in land, maritime and civil aviation,” he said.

To counter these unlawful acts of terrorism, Abaya said it is imperative that transportation security infrastructure should be effective.

“In the pursuit of security excellence, we must adopt the latest professional skills and technology available which, in conjunction with well-trained and motivated security professionals, can help protect the industry from increasing sophisticated threats to the maritime infrastructure and facilities,” he said.

Abaya said the outcome of this endeavor will enhance the enforcement security of shipping and port operators to enroll in the security program, thus eventually complying with the maritime security standards prescribed by IMO. (Elias O. Baquero, Sun Star)