Annually, the Women in Maritime Philippines [WIMAPHIL] Bikol Chapter celebrates International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8 to honor the socio-economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Thus, it becomes the pivotal objective in the women’s right movement, drawing interest to issues such as gender equality and women empowerment [UN’s SDG 5], reproductive rights and violence against women and children.
Hence, this year WIMA – Bikol Chapter’s celebration is capped by a webinar focusing on the United Nations Theme: “Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a COVID-19 World.”
The webinar was opened by Ms. Nonie P. Enolva, Senior Fishing Regulation Officer and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources [BFAR] Region 5 Spokesperson and the Chairperson, WIMAPHIL Bikol Chapter. The Keynote Speaker was the President of WIMAPHIL and WIMA ASIA, Ms. Merle Jimenez-San Pedro, who emphasized in her talk the word Educate yourself, Manage
your stress, be Positive, Out of the box, Work in progress, Energize yourself, Reach out. The first letters of these words are spelled out as EMPOWER to holistically embrace UN’s SDG 5.
Looking through the significance of women during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chapter thought of inviting dynamic and self-motivated women to talk on various topics of their expertise. Our 2021 celebration is equally successful as our invited resource persons spoke on issues that were relevant to the times. Our speakers were: Dr. Nila B. Oñate, ASEAN Engineer and Senior Consultant of Mariners’ Polytechnic Colleges Foundation of Legaspi City (Albay) Inc., whose topic was “Role of Women in Food Security & Poverty Alleviation; Ms. Sally Domino-Bongalonta, a psychologist and Administrator of Vivify, who discussed on “Promoting Women’s Health in the New Normal; and Ms. Mary Ann I. Pastrana, Executive Vice-President of Archipelago Philippine Ferries Corp, and Vice-President of WIMAPHIL, who spoke about “Best Practices on Health & Wellness Among Women Onboard Vessels.”
The three and a half-hour webinar was virtually participated in by almost a hundred women invited from all sectors of society in the Bikol Region, a region located at the southernmost part of Luzon. Attendees were women from all government offices and agencies in the region such as Maritime Industry Authority [MARINA] Region 5, Philippine National Police – Maritime Group from various provinces of the region, maritime cadettes from Mariners’ Legazpi, Albay and our sister school in Canaman, Camarines Sur, faculty members and staff, other maritime schools in the region, ladies from this Institution’s three  adopted barangay communities, ladies from Fast Cat [Archipelago’s Ro-Ro vessel], Philippine Coast Guard and Philippine Navy lady-officers, the Philippine Ports Authority ladies, and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, among others.
The organizing committee of the said thought of creating the webinar interactive by letting the participants answer questions culled from the speakers’ talks. The question-and-answer game made the webinar enthusiastic and alive.
Gaining insights from the discussants’ rhetoric gained praises from the participants.