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PIA Press Release

PGMA presence overwhelms NMP officials

By Bong Pedalino

Tacloban City (October 20) -- Overwhelming.

That was how National Maritime Polytechnic (NMP)Officer-In-Charge (OIC) President Marie Grace Ayaso described the brief encounter she had, along with other NMP key staff and officials, with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

She was referring to the lunch-time visit of the President today at the country's premier maritime training school situated at barangay Cabalawan, this city, right after gracing the 65th Leyte Landing ceremonies at Palo, Leyte.

President Arroyo arrived about 12:30 noon inside the NMP campus, and proceeded to cut the ribbon in front of a two-storey building to signify the inauguration of the state-of-the-art maritime training simulators.

In the second floor of the same building, the President stepped inside an exclusive room, known as the Full-mission Bridge Simulator, and experienced first-hand a 240-degree view of a ship captain's control deck, complete with simulated images of a moving, computer-generated sea voyage.

The seemingly star-wars type of advanced technology for sea-faring vessels has been part of a five-year upgrading program, so that Filipino seamen can be truly globally competitive when it comes to operating sophisticated machines like the one President Arroyo symbolically manned for a few minutes, said NMP OIC President Ayaso.

Aside from the Full-mission Bridge Simulator, the building housed three other James Bond-like paraphernalia identified in technical terms as Full-mission Engine-room Simulator, Liquid Cargo Handling Simulator, and Computer-based Assessment, all for a total cost of P 48,337,180.00.

The fund source was taken from the Government of the Philippines (GOP) Capital Outlay, according to a project brief, a copy of which was secured by PIA.

Presca Lee Lugo, who headed the Maritime Training Division, told PIA the technology came from Russia since no other supplier had signified to provide support, like a one-year warranty on servicing and spare parts, and an annual upgrading of the equipment.

In the pipeline are more complex technology awaiting installation, like radar simulator, interface Global Positioning System (GPS), and electronic navigation, among others, Lugo said.

She added that that their training programs start from January to December, wherein any of the 36 programs are composed of several modules.

And it's no longer a purely man's world in here, this maritime business thing, for females had started coming in, a recent one had even become a third Engineer.

The NMP itself was led by three ladies, Lugo stressed, perhaps unaware that today's principal, honored guest was also a woman like her.

Gender sensitivity aside, NMP has been on track to attain its vision of a world-class maritime center of excellence, with its matching mission to be a venue that "shall provide for maritime training and research that measure up to international standards and respond to the needs of the Filipino seafarers and the industry."

After eating lunch, President Arroyo and party left at quarter past one in the afternoon for another engagement at Camiguin province, it was learned. (PIA-Southern Leyte) [top]

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