The Department of Transportation (DOTr) pushes for the sustainable and preservation of ocean sources to boost the country’s economic progress, improve the livelihood of Filipinos, and achieve global competitiveness, DOTr Undersecretary for Maritime Elmer Francisco Sarmiento said Monday, 19 September 2022.

"Key words here are sustainable and preserve. Whatever programs we undertake, let us include the wise use of our ocean resources. Let us always be conscious of the health of the ocean ecosystem," Usec. Sarmiento said in a media briefing marking the celebration of the 23rd National Maritime Week from 19 to 25 September 2022.

Usec. Sarmiento emphasized the concept of 'blue economy' and the preservation of the oceans, while elevating the country’s transportation systems to global standards through safe, affordable, comfortable, and accessible transport.

"We can aspire for economic progress and global competitiveness without destroying the oceans. The mandate of the whole Transportation Department, according to Secretary (Jaime) Bautista, is to provide safe, affordable, comfortable, and accessible transport. The Secretary promised Pres. Bongbong Marcos to elevate the country’s transport industry to global standards," the DOTr official said.

Apart from 'blue economy,' the DOTr likewise undertakes improvement and modernization of maritime assets and facilities.

"We will build and expand seaports not just for commerce and trade but also for tourism. These ports will serve as gateways for growth in tourism, agriculture, trade, and the regular travel needs of Filipinos," Usec. Sarmiento stated.

In line with the 2022 National Maritime Week, host Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) has set its priorities on digitalization, development of modern, disaster-resilient, and environment-friendly port facilities, automation and new technologies, among others.

β€œThese are meant to realize more sustainable jobs, produce sufficient ocean resources, and register low carbon emissions, less pollution towards cleaner environment,” PPA OIC General Manager Fracisquiel Mancile said.

Meanwhile, DOTr attached and line agencies Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and the Cebu Port Authority (CPA) will likewise advocate 'green' port and shipping practices that include the ban on single-use plastic and clean-up of the country's waters.

β€œPipirmahan namin β€˜yung Pledge of Commitment at ita-translate ito sa isang directive para sa lahat ng units ng Philippine Coast Guard sa buong Pilipinas na ipagbawal ang paggamit ng single-use plastic,” PCG Spokesperson Commodore Armando Balilo said.