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Despite the global health crisis which demanded for a declaration of an enhanced community quarantine in Luzon, the Philippine Merchant Marine Academy opted to continue with its operation.

Being a regimented higher education institution, cadets of the Academy are provided with meals, and are quartered at the PMMA dormitories for the entire duration of their academic years, although under normal circumstances, they are allowed to go on short stay passes and end-of-term vacations, similar to other governments academies, like the PMA and the PNPA.

Given this distinct characteristic of PMMA, the Administration, upon conducting risk assessment with the Department Heads, decided that it would be best to continue with our operations. Our students are from all over the Philippines, and sending them to go out of PMMA would put them at higher risks of contracting the virus. As such, we strongly believe that the best way to protect them is to keep them here. Needless to say, we acknowledge our duties to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19. We issued several advisories to disseminate and emphasize the guidelines released by both national and local government.

As a precautionary measure, we are temporarily denying access to guests and visitors until situations get better. We are strictly implementing screening procedures through a checklist of symptoms, travel history, and temperature checking of cadets, employees and their dependents, and observance of social distancing.

We have two sets of employees: those who live outside the Academy, and those who are billeted within PMMA at staff houses, bachelor’s quarters, and guest houses. The former is being ferried by our coasters, as we need to maintain skeletal workforce, while some employees have work-at-home arrangements.

All Faculty members deliver classes online through the Learning Management System/Google classroom, thus, avoiding face-to-face interaction. Tactical officers who live within the Academy’s premises will maintain operations as usual. During meal times of the students, social distancing is still implemented, hence they were divided into two schedules, so that they can be accommodated in the mess hall. Some classrooms, upon the recommendation of the Commandant of the Department of Midshipmen Affairs, will also be used as temporary barracks for the cadets to ensure the implementation of social distancing.

We have already announced the postponement of mass gatherings including our much-awaited 200th Founding Anniversary. Should there be a necessity, the administration has designated the PMMA Hotel as the isolation area for cadets and employees who show symptoms of COVID-19.

Ultimately, PMMA recognizes that everyone must comply with the enhanced community quarantine imposed by President Rodrigo Duterte. However, given the unique circumstances of our institution, and for the best interest of our midshipmen and employees, we deemed it better to continue with our operations and deliver services to our dear students as they will be more protected here than they are outside, under very strict implementation of received advisories.

Rest assured that PMMA will continue its risk assessment and issue guidelines as appropriate.