Coastal and marine areas to boost development

In Photo: SEA-EX Expo

“THE Philippines has all the natural resources, infrastructure, beautiful islands and the most hospitable people around,” pointed out by SEA-Ex Chairman Angelo Olondriz during a media interview on February 11 on a short cruise in the Manila Bay area.

Angelo Olondriz
Angelo Olondriz

According to Olondriz, who is also the president of Headsail Inc., “The country has to pursue marine development to further boost tourism and promote inclusive growth to different provinces. We need the small industries to bring people around the resorts. Even Pasig River ferry and river taxis should be in the roadmap for marina development.”

Christopher Madrigal, chief of the Maritime Development and Ocean Affairs Unit of the Office of the President, said the Duterte administration is currently talking to all the agencies concerned to come up with a comprehensive road map to develop the marine and coastal resources of the country. “We are currently consolidating a sound and relevant plan together with the departments of National Defense, of Environment and Natural Resources, and of the Interior and Local Government.”

He pointed out that the said agencies have realized the important impact of the economic side of coastal and marine resources.

In an unprecedented initiative, the Philippine government is working with the private sector to create a thriving local boating industry, one that rivals those of Hong Kong and Singapore. As a country with 7,107 islands, 36,289 kilometers of coastline—the third longest in the world—and rich marine life, the Philippines has the natural resources  needed to support developments that, if done properly, can create a wide variety of economic activities, including tourism and recreation, like boating and water sports; sustainable employment; port facilities; ecosystem services, like flood control and energy generation; and regenerating urban areas, among others.

In 2009 a select number of players in the boating industry, headed by Olondriz, started the campaign to turn the Philippines into Asia’s Mediterranean—a country whose coastlines host businesses that not only support employment for locals, but also provide significant economic contribution, as well. This year the government, headed by Marina, the National Coast Watch Council (NCWS) and the Tourism and Promotion’s Board (TBP), joins the said campaign and calls for more private firms to join, as well.

“During the 1st SEA-EX Nautical Lifestyle Show, nine years ago, the group started the dialogue about the importance of the country’s coastline and marina development, and the potential growth it can provide the country. We are happy to see that the government, along with the private sector, is now taking the lead in that discussion,” Olondriz said.

“Right now, we are working with them to update the rules and regulations that govern the marine industry. The last time this was revised was back in 1987. We are also working to get the leisure boating industry legitimized. These developments will pave the way for significant growth in the years to come.”

Olondriz urged companies, especially the big players in the real estate, hospitality services and construction field, start shifting their focus on one of our country’s most important resources. He lamented the current property developments in the country does not include the coastal areas. “We need guys to put up marina development in their agenda,” he said. “Nobody thinks about that,” he lamented.

Madrigal said the NCW there should be consistent dialogue between the stakeholders to come out with a solid agenda. Moreover, he said the development of the coastal resources would uplift the economic status of the people living in these areas,” he pointed out.

“If we support our local boat builders, it would generate more income to the small businesses and produce more income for people in the coastal areas,” Olondriz said.

The ninth SEA-EX Philippine Boat Show & Nautical Lifestyle Expo will be held from March 3 to 5 at the SMX Convention Center in the Mall of Asia grounds. Considered as the biggest marine expo in the country, the industry expo will bring together key notable people and brands involved in the manufacture and distribution of yachts, sail boats, boating accessories, water sports equipment, summer apparel and resort getaways under one roof. These include the local boat builders, like Trevally Boats, Teamnonino, Australasia Marine Alliance Corp., Advanced Composite Systems-Hammerhead Boats and local boat distributors carrying internationally known brands, such as Azimut Yachts, Beneteau, Lagoon, Princess, Chaparral Boats, Sunseeker, NuMarine, Galeon and Corsair Marine.