Marina Administrator, Retired Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad (centre), poses for a photo opportunity with strong women in the maritime sector during the event held at the marina’s central office on May 18, 2022: (L to R) Mary Ann Pastrana, President of Maritime Philippine Women; Normie Hernandez of Philippine Transmarine Carriers Inc.; Siony Flores from the Ports Authority of the Philippines; Merle San Pedro of WIMA Asia; Marina OIC Deputy Administrator for Planning Sonia Malaluan; Assistant Marina Administrator for Operations Engr. Nannette Villamor-Dinopol; Commodore Mitzie Silva-Campo of the Philippine Coast Guard; and Nenita Atienza, Director of Marina Management, Financial and Administrative Services. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
The Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) declared its full support to all women working in the maritime industry during the celebration of the International Women in Maritime Day.
Marina Administrator Robert Empedrad said the agency has opened a separate office to support gender and development to encourage their female employees to be their best and address their concerns.
“Gender and development are alive here. At Marina, [women] are treated fairly,” Empedrad said.
He also praised the female workforce in the sector for doing their best and meeting the challenges head-on in a male-dominated industry.
“I would like to commend women across the archipelago in the maritime industry. Alam ko na nagpe-effect kayo similar to what your counterparts are doing. I encourage all women to keep pushing and telling the world that you ‘are just as capable as your male counterpart,’ he said.
The administrator also called on women to join the maritime sector as he guaranteed that Marina would support them.
“Now the opportunities for women are there. I would like to encourage our women in the Maritimes to go out there to serve. I know there are issues but don’t worry, we are here to support you. Give us a call, and we’ll do everything we can to ensure your issues are properly handled by the Marina,” Empedrad promised.
According to records, there are approximately 59,251 female seafarers registered under the Marina’s Integrated Seafarers’ Online Management System (Mismo).
Women empowerment for all
The celebration of the International Day of Women at Sea marks the resolution A. 1770 (32) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) proclaiming every May 18 the International Day of Women at Sea.
Assistant Marina Administrator for Operations Engr. Nannette Villamor-Dinopol said the celebration was not just for women in the navy but also for all those who serve as a “catalyst for change, equality and empowerment”.
“Women are an integral part of the maritime workforce, contributing to the success of shipping companies, ports, shore-based services, etc., bringing progress for all,” Dinopol said.
“We believe in creating a society and a work environment where men and women can realize their full potential without being limited by discrimination,” she added.
The themes for this year’s celebration revolved around gender equality, breaking down barriers and a workplace that supports diverse participation for all.
Resource speakers and panelists from different maritime sector entities across the country addressed 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 moderated by Mary Ann Pastrana, of Archipelago Philippine Ferries Inc., and Commodore Mitzie Silva-Campo, the first female Commodore of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) from her General Line Officer rank.
In 2021, the IMO Assembly passed a resolution proclaiming every 18 May the IMO International Day for Women in Maritime. The day will be observed annually to celebrate women in the industry and promote the recruitment, retention and sustainable employment of women in the maritime sector, raise the profile of women in the maritime sector, strengthen the commitment of the IMO towards UN Sustainable Development Goal 5 (gender equality) and support work to address the current gender imbalance in the maritime sector.