Pursuant to Proclamation No. 1560 issued in July 27 2008, the last Friday of September every year is celebrated as National Maritime Day “for the purpose of focusing the public attention on seafarer’s welfare and maritime concerns.”

The celebration is also in support of the annual worldwide observance organized by the International Maritime Organization. Pursuant to Presidential Proclamation No. 556 that mandares the promotion of the maritime sector and the welfare of seafarers, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) leads this year’s celebration of Na-tional Maritime Week (September 21-27) with the theme “Partnership in Addressing Maritime Challenges toward National Development.”

Highlights of this year’s celebration include dressing of ships to formally start the open house for Coast Guard vessels docked in Manila Bay and nationwide simultaneous blowing of ship horns on September 25. Also to be staged on this day is a motorcade from the Luneta to the Mall of Asia and the “Saludo sa Marinong Pinoy” at the Luneta Seafarer’s Center.

Other activities to be jointly undertaken by the water cluster of the Department of Transporation and Communications, the PCG, the Maritime Industry Authority, and the Philippine Ports Authority, in partnership with shipping companies, seafarer’s organizations and maritime schools, include coastal clean-up, free medical and dental check-up, silent drill competition, free concert, and static display at Ocean Park in Luneta.

Over a hundred orphans aged 8 to 12 years from the Missionary of Charity, Childhood Asia Philippines, and Concordia Children Services will be treated by the Coast Guard to a day at Ocean Park. Capping this year’s celebration will be a PCG search and Rescue demonstration involving ships, aircraft, rescue swimmers, marine environmental protection personnel, and the Specialized Medical Assistance Response Team in the waters off the Mall of Asia.

The recent series of tragedies involving maritime vessels, compounded by the realities of globalization, technological advancements, climate change, transnational crimes, oil and mineral explorations at sea, and competing needs over marine resources, have posed and intricate web of challenges to the aforementioned government agencies and instrumentalities which are at the forefront of promoting, developing, implementing the national maritime policy and capability.

We congratulate the collaborators and organizers of this year’s National Maritime Day and National Maritime Week celebrations, led by Philippine Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Wilfredo D. Tamayo and Personnel, and wish them success in all their endeavors.