Proposed Marina 2023 budget ‘too small’

The Maritime Industry Authority’s proposed 2023 budget has been slashed by more than half by the Department of Budget and Management to P386.85 million from P851 million.

The figure is based on the 2023 National Expenditure Program the DBM recently submitted to the House of Representatives as part of the deliberation on the 2023 national budget.

“That’s too small for us,” a Marina official who wished not to be named said of the lower budget shown in the 2023 NEP, a copy of which was obtained by Daily Tribune.

The official said P386.85 million is just a small percentage of the Transportation Department’s proposed P167.1 billion budget for 2023.

Marina’s 2022 budget is pegged at P353 million with a supplemental funding of P115 million.

“We will be asking for an additional budget during the bicameral budget hearing,” the official said.

The official noted that Marina’s Maritime Industry Development Plan from 2019 to 2029 will need P94.57 billion to be accomplished.

The agency also needs additional personnel to fulfill its mandate, according to the official.

“Approximately P73 million or 27.95 percent of the allotted MOOE (Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses) funds are used to pay wages of job orders and contract of service personnel. To date, non-plantilla personnel totaled 447 or 42.40 percent of the total manpower of the agency of 1,125. We need more personnel,” the official said.

Marina has been asking the DBM to approve the implementation of the Marina Organizational Structure and Staffing Plan submitted in 2020.

Further, the agency is seeking the creation of offices in Regions 2, 3, 4B and National Capital Region.

The official also complained that the DBM has not released to Marina its P25 million annual income, which can be utilized to implement Republic Act 9295 or “An Act Promoting The Development Of Philippine Domestic Shipping, Shipbuilding, Ship Repair And Ship Breaking.”

“Marina has an automatic annual appropriation of P25M but this amount has not been released for the last three years and the accumulated amount over the years, as well,” the official said.

During the recent kick-off of this year’s National Maritime Week, transportation undersecretary for maritime sector Elmer Sarmiento revealed that the DBM has deferred the allocation of budget for the construction and modernization of at least 36 seaports costing P800 million under the P167.1-billion proposed 2023 budget of the department of transportation.

“The DoTr has this proposal to construct 36 ports (next year). Unfortunately, it was not approved by the DBM. We also have foreign-assisted projects to improve capacity, especially the upgrade of assets of the Philippine Coast Guard, but they were rejected as well by the DBM,” according to Sarmiento.

Sarmiento said they will appeal the maritime budget once the bicameral deliberation for the 2023 NEP starts.

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