The Maritime League at 25

The Maritime League, the Philippine maritime foundation, was established in 1991 to address the need for an organization which will help spur progress in the maritime profession and advance the interest of the maritime industry.

How did it start? I asked its Founding Chairman and President, Commo Carlos L Agustin, and this is what he said:

“It was ‘spawned’ at a dinner on the occasion of the PCG 88th anniversary held at the Army and Navy Club of Manila at the Luneta Park on October 8, 1990 through a challenge for the maritime industry and agencies concerned with the maritime industry and profession to organize professional-business-institutional association by the Guest of Honor, Secretary of National Defense Fidel V Ramos. posed a challenge for the maritime industry and agencies concerned with the maritime industry and profession to organize a professional-business-institutional association.  He said, “Pick any international model, expand and improve upon it and do your thing for the development of our maritime industry.”

Everybody agreed and we went to work on it. We looked at various models: The US Navy League, the US Naval Institute, the (UK) Nautical Institute the Propeller Club and all sort of shipping, shipbuilding, ports and other organizations dealing with maritime business and profession. Eventually, I suppose because most of the members were associated with the Navy and Merchant Marine and most receive or occasionally read the Naval Institute Proceedings, we settled on something similar. We agreed the League would:

  • be a Foundation
  • be apolitical
  • help spur progress of the maritime industry and profession
  • publish a monthly magazine to promote the maritime sector; and
  • unify the government agencies with the maritime industry in the common cause of developing (or helping develop) the nation into a maritime power.”ml25_fvr-cla-gwu

They opted for the name The Maritime Foundation, but the SEC suggested they come up with something else.  Not long after, The Maritime League, Inc. was hatched and was finally approved by the SEC.

Aside from Secretary Fidel V Ramos:, Agustin gives much emphasis to the role of many players towards organizing the League:

Miguel Magsaysay of Magsaysay Lines; Carlos Salinas of PTC and Chairman of the Filipino Shipowners Association (Magsaysay, Salinas and Agustin were all in the World Maritime University, Malmo Board of Governors); PSTC President RADM Carlito Y Cunanan; Marshall Group’s Vice President Teofilo S Eugenio; HERMA Group Chair Herminio S Esguerra, Winston Kawsek and Vicente Angliongto of the PCG Auxiliary; former PN Chief and EPZA (later PEZA) Administrator Tagumpay R Jardiniano, MARINA Administrator Philip S Tuazon (who was the one who pushed Agustin’s Governorship in the WMU); CISO President Paciencio M Balbon; PPA GM Rogelio A Dayan; PN FOIC VAdm Mariano J Dumancas; William Lines President Victor S Chiongbian; Sandoval Shipyards President Vicente A Sandoval; PDSFA top guns Vicente V Villaviciencio of Triple V and Chairman Matias B Aznar of Southwestern University; DOTC Sec Jesus B Garcia and USEC Jose Valdecanas; SLI Vice President Edgar S Go; ATI EVP Richard D Barclay and ICTSI EVP Edgardo Abesamis.

Agustin adds: “I’m sure I have missed one or more for which I plead for mercy due to senior moments.”

Presidential Proclamation 866 dated 4-August-1996 institutionalized the national involvement of the League with respect to the Annual World Maritime Day activities every third Friday of September each year. On its maiden activity under the Proclamation, the Shipping and Ports Advisory Council (SPAC) held the 1996 MARITIME FORUM at the Westin Plaza on 27-September-1996. The 1997 MARITIME FORUM and the 1998 MARITIME SAFETY FORUM followed to usher in the advent of the coming into force of the International Safety Management (ISM) Code, and the compilation of the IMO “White List”, both at the Westin Plaza Hotel.  In 1999, PP157 superseded PP 866.


Capt Winston G Arpon PN (ret), former Chairman of the Maritime Review Editorial Board describes what we have as a TRIAD: The Maritime League, the Maritime Forum and the Maritime Review.

The Maritime League

ml25_claspeakermarine2016A Philippine maritime foundation, the Maritime League is an apolitical, non- stock non-profit and non-sectarian organization with the purpose of advancing the interest of the maritime profession and industry launched and inaugurated at the Army and Navy Club of Manila on 8-October-1991 with Secretary Fidel V Ramos. When organized the following year, the Founding Board agreed to have Honorary Chairmanship shared by Secretary Ramos with the Secretary of Transportation and Communications Oscar M. Orbos as most of the functions of interest to the League are concerned with marine transport..Orbos’ successor, Jesus B Garcia was a great supporter of the League.

This was opportune, as Fidel V Ramos assumed the Presidency in 1992, during which he had given approval in principle for Agustin to initiate action for the transfer of the PCG to the Department of Transportation (see RAdm William M Melad PCG, “Remembering VAdm Mariano J Dumancas”, Maritime Review July-August 2016). At that time, the League Board created the position of Chairman Emeritus and invited President Fidel V Ramos to give the League the honor of having the President’s name in its place.  Secretary Arthur P Tugade of the Department of Transportation is the current Honorary Chairman.

The Maritime Forum

In line with the avowed goal of establishing a regular forum, the League formalized a regular discussion session initially together with the Marine Technology Foundation, a bi-monthly MARITIME FORUM or MARITIME BREAKFAST FORUM where various key leaders in the industry and maritime agencies are invited.

The first of this series was held on 6-November-1998 at the Marine Technology Center. Topical Papers developed during the sessions were taken up during the ANNUAL WORLD MARITIME DAY FORUM, while specific discussion papers are considered for publication in the Maritime Review. As needed, special position or WHITE PAPERS are developed. The Maritime Forum, started in 1992 on a quarterly basis, eventually became bi-monthly, then 7, then 8, 9 and now 10 times a year (monthly except June and December). In November 2016, the 117th Maritime Forum will be held (hosted by DOTr. Per the request of MOAO DFA in 2002, the DFA became first host of each year.

Participation in the Forum is not limited to the League; it is open to those invited by the Maritime League management as well as its affiliated agencies and corporate members. The affiliated agencies are DFA, DOTC, DENR, DND and their bureaus involved in maritime affairs and the various maritime organizations.

The Proceedings of the Forum are covered in the Maritime Review.

The Maritime Review

Completing the triad, the Maritime Review is the only regularly-published maritime magazine of general scope in the Philippines geared towards the dissemination of information useful to the maritime profession and industry. The League has institutionalized its journal, which is meant to be published monthly. To-date, It still remains a bi-monthly publication.

The Maritime Review is the official journal published quarterly by the League from 1993 to 1998, and six times a year starting in 1999. It was launched during the PCG Anniversary program on 10-October-1993 with President Fidel V Ramos as Guest of Honor. The Review covers professional information of relevance to the maritime industry and profession.

Aside from the regular printed magazine, the Maritime Review can be accessed via its website, or Facebook.

The League hopes to establish a plan to sustain the operation of the League and enable it to inform, enlist the support of members as well as the Office of the President, both houses of Congress, and the agencies and non-governmental organizations involved on matters concerning the maritime profession and industry. This includes:

  1. Seek representation on national fora, to include the legislative arm, where maritime related subjects are being discussed.
  2. Cooperate with other organizations to promote maritime interests.
  3. Work closely with other maritime professional bodies.
  4. Eventually seek to make the Philippines a truly developed maritime power through:
    1. Self reliance in ship building, ship repair, ship engineering
    2. Achievements of the six pillars of a Flag State through:
      • A well-developed National Maritime Registry;
      • A well-developed National Maritime Laws and Regulation;
      • A systematic National Maritime Administration;
      • A professional Merchant Marine service and a high state of involvement in ship manning;
      • Active national participation in the ownership of ships; and
      • Active participation in the management of ship owning and ship-operating companies.
    3. Enhance the use of systems and infrastructure for global trade and efficient transport of goods and people.
  5. Develop the research capability of the organization.

The League supports a high degree of transparency and responsibility of the real owners and operators of ships.

From left to right: VAdm Emilio Marayag, Capt. Tom Baino, RAdm Margarito Sanchez, Commo. Chuck Agustin, Jay Agustin, VAdm Jose Luis Alano

From left to right: VAdm Emilio Marayag, Capt. Tom Baino, RAdm Margarito Sanchez, Commo. Chuck Agustin, Jay Agustin, VAdm Jose Luis Alano