A BILL requiring the Philippine Merchant Marine Academy (PMMA) to reserve a slot for one cadet from each congressional district in the country has passed the House of Representatives on second reading.
House Bill No. 6994 was consolidated from two similar bills from Cagayan de Oro 2nd District Representative Rufus Rodriguez and Pangasinan 6th District Representative Marlyn Primicias-Agabas by the House Committee on Higher and Technical Education, chaired by Baguio Representative Mark Go.
The country currently has 253 congressional districts. Under the bill, one cadet applicant from each district would be reserved a slot.
To be admitted to the PMMA, applicants from each congressional district will be required to take and pass an entrance exam.
Additionally, in cases when a province has only one congressional district, three cadets will be selected.
However, when Go questioned PMMA superintendent Commodore Joel Abutal about the capacity of the PMMA to handle an increase in recruitment, Abutal said that the school would have to cut down its yearly national recruitment average from 250 to 100.
“The current intake of PMMA which is… it is not equitable to (accommodate students) across the country, we would like to have an equitable recruitment of 253 plus another 100 for the national selection,” Abutal said.
Abutal also admitted that having 353 new recruits a year from 100 in the national recruitment and 253 from the congressional districts would mean that the PMMA would be short on its facilities.
“We will be lacking facilities in terms of barracks and classrooms… if we add more (cadets), our barracks will be smaller,” Abutal said.
However, he also added that the school will still support the bill as the demand for more cadets has been growing.