The Women in Maritime Philippines celebrated 10 year anniversary last July 7th, starting with a thanksgiving Mass in the morning at the Asian Institute of Maritime Studies in Pasay City. There were WOW orientation, exhibit booth, tour to AIMS maritime museum, fellowship.
Gala Night was at the Ramon Magsaysay Hall, Roxas Boulevard, Manila replete with inspiring messages, song renditions, raffles and a photo booth. Awards were given on the Hashtag contest on marine environment protection. The evening wore on with dancing and music.
Hashtag #wimaformarinelife winner is Joanne Marie Solito, part of an environmental protection promotion that ran May 22 to June 15, 2017. A video presentation of WIMAPHIL milestones followed.
WIMAPHIL has three banner programs:
- She to Sea – for women empowerment to promote maritime professionals and gender sensitivity
- Women on Watch, a campaign for safety and security of ships
- Protection of the marine environment
These are implemented in five regional chapters like NCR, Western Visayas, Central and Eastern Visayas, Bicol, Malacanang of the South Davao chapter.
WIMAPHIL President Merle Jimenez-San Pedro said the theme is “WIMA @ 10: WIMake Change Happen” to highlight the partnership with government and the private sector. These advance WIMAPHIL advocacy in women empowerment, in promoting maritime professionals, on safe and secure ships and the protection of sustainable marine environment.
Ms. San Pedro Atty. Brenda Pimentel, then IMO regional coordinator for Asia Pacific; Ms. Carla Limcaoco as pioneer soul of the organization and Philippine Ambassador Carlos Salinas.
Congratulatory messages came in from various sectors on WIMAPHIL on the first decade of service to industry and community. Among these, Mr. Kitack Lim, Secretary-General International Maritime Organization, read by Pimentel, a founding director.
The integration of women into all levels of political, economic and social development is a major objective of the United Nations; enshrined in the UN Sustainable Development Goal 5, to “promote gender equality and empower women.”
Mr. Lim observes shipping has been a male-dominated industry and that tradition runs long and deep. However, IMO is making a concerted effort to help the industry help women achieve a representation in keeping with 21st century expectations.
The UN Sec-Gen declared, “One of the main objectives of the IMO strategy is to do something that very few people do in the industry, which is to give visibility to women. If they can’t be seen they can’t be applauded – and they can’t be seen as a resource.”
Over the years, IMO has developed numerous tools to encourage more women to join the maritime ranks. These include two films on the work of the Organization, and others, to help promote change for the better for women in shipping. The films showcase experiences from those who have succeeded.
An IMO-supported regional conference held in the Republic of Korea, in April 2013, adopted the Busan Declaration to forge partnerships to facilitate the implementation of a Global Strategy for Women Seafarers.
IMO has established formal regional networks between women managers in maritime and port industries as channel for the exchange of information, a springboard for developing regional training opportunities matching needs over requirements and cultural barriers against women.
Mr. Lim is encouraged by the “prolific work” of WIMAPHIL, “past projects are indeed impressive – covering important issues.” He added, “It is safe to say that empowering women fuels thriving economies… spurs growth and development, and benefits all of us working in the global maritime community as we strive for safe, secure, clean and sustainable shipping.”
DOTr U/Sec Felipe Judan started with platitudes, “(Y)ou are making a big event for the maritime industry… part of the historical improvement of our maritime industry.” Judan implored, “Let us all recognize them to be part and parcel of … development and change.”
MARINA Administrator Marcial Amaro III considers WIMAPHIL “… Symbol of unyielding cooperation of maritime stakeholders with our government in promoting gender awareness … This also reflects your strong determination to create stronger panels of women.”
Amaro even waxed poetical: “(I)t is a torch soul that sets the direction for the next voyage that the women in maritime have sailed in succeeding years … Just like a big dream that start with a vision it is a journey of a thousand miles that begins with a single step” as China’s Mao Tzedung said scores back.
DENR U/Sec Analiza Rebuelta-Teh saw details of WIMAPHIL efforts “… in reducing marine pollution and protecting marine resources through your coastal and river clean-ups, mangroves and other tree planting activities, information and education campaigns on ecological waste management, climate change and advocacies for safer ships and cleaner seas. Your efforts on the mobilization of volunteers and concerned citizens to monitor and report abuses to the marine environment are also worth noting.”
Ms. Teh pushed further the public-private sector partnerships to, “maximize impact on effective and responsive marine and coastal governance. Let us transform CSR principles into ICM actions.” DENR invites WIMAPHIL to join the Sustainable Business Network under PEMSEA.
On July 7, 2007, ladies in the maritime industry organized “Women in Maritime, Philippines Association” or WIMAPHIL.
The core came from government agencies (Port Authority (PPA), Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) and Coast Guard (PCG.), including those of the academe, training centers, shipping companies. Chapters were organized, reaching out to coastal communities, local government units (LGUs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
Membership expanded into the regions and organizations, government and private. Regional chapters in the National Capital Region (NCR), Western Visayas, Northern Mindanao, Central and Eastern Visayas and in Bicol were established. MARINA and PPA also formed their chapters.
Private maritime enterprises (St. Therese Maritime College, Iloilo and the Archipelago Philippine Ferries) took to organizing campus/company-wide WIMA teams. By press-time, the Davao and southern Mindanao regional chapters would have been established.