MANILA – Aiming to provide an avenue for women to resolve challenges, and barriers in a male-dominated industry, the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) celebrated the International Day of Women in Maritime through series of panel discussions, on 18 May 2022 at the MARINA Central Office, in Port Area, Manila.

The celebration serves as the Philippines’ commemoration for the inaugural program of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Resolution A. 1770 (32) proclaiming every 18th of May as the International Day for Women in Maritime.

During his speech, MARINA Administrator Vice Admiral Robert A Empedrad AFP (Ret) lauded female senior officers of the agency, as he stressed that “gender and development is alive” in his office.

“Here in MARINA, we treat you fairly, the gender and development is alive here. In fact, nag-open tayo ng isang office just to emphasize that our support for gender and development is hundred percent (100%).”

Administrator Empedrad also congratulated the female workforce in the sector for doing its best, and facing the challenges head-on in the industry dominated by men.

“I’d like to congratulate all the female all over the archipelago sa maritime industry, alam ko na nagpe-perform kayo similar to what your counterparts are doing. I am encouraging all the female to keep on pushing, and tell the whole world that you’re equally capable with your male counterpart,” he said.

Further, Administrator Empedrad called women to take part in serving under the wing of maritime sector, as he guaranteed that the MARINA will back them up to ensure that their problems will be acted upon.

“Now, the opportunities for females are present. I’d like to encourage our women in the maritime to go out there to serve. Alam kong may mga problema [I know there are problems], but don’t worry, we’re here to support you. Just call us, and we will do everything we can to ensure that your problems are properly acted upon by the MARINA,” Administrator Empedrad pledged.

Based on records, there are approximately 59,251 female seafarers registered under the MARINA Integrated Seafarers Management Online (MISMO) System.

During her welcome remarks, one of MARINA’s female senior officers, MARINA Deputy Administrator for Operations Engr. Nannette Villamor-Dinopol, stated that the celebration was not only for the women in maritime but also for everyone who serves as a “catalyst of change, equality, and empowerment.”

“Women are the integral part of the maritime workforce, contributing to the success of shipping lines, ports, onshore services and more. There is ample evidence that the countries with more gender equality have better economic growth which implies that the equality for women means progress for all,” Engr. Dinopol expressed.

“We believe in creating a society and a work environment where men and women can realize their full potential without being limited by discrimination.”

The topics for this year’s celebration revolved around gender equality, breaking barriers, and a workplace that is inclusive of diverse participation by all.

Resource speakers and panelists from different entities in the country’s maritime sector tackled the realities of women amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the barriers women face in terms of employment in the industry.

The panel discussions were led by resource speakers Archipelago Philippine Ferries Inc. Mary Ann Pastrana, and the Philippine Coast Guard’s (PCG) first female commodore from its rank of general line officers, Commodore Mitzie Silva-Campo.

Members of the panel are: MARINA-DSS OIC-Director Atty. Sharon Aledo, MARINA-MFAS Dir. Nenita Atienza, WIMAPHIL and WIMA Asia’s Ms. Merle San Pedro, ALMA’s Ms. Cristina Garcia, and Anglo Eastern Crew Management Philippines Inc. Ms. Judelle Garing.

The discussions were moderated by MARINA Deputy Administrator for Planning Director Sonia Malaluan, and MARINA-PDRD OIC-Division Chief Jinky Mendoza.

In 2021, the IMO Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming every 18th of May as the IMO International Day for Women in Maritime. The day will be observed annually to celebrate women in the industry and to promote the recruitment, retention and sustained employment of women in the maritime sector, raise the profile of women in maritime, strengthen IMO’s commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5 (gender equality) and support work to address the current gender imbalance in maritime.