Upon the invitation of NEDA RO5, acting as the host agency, WIMAPHIL Bikol Chapter which is based at Mariners’ Legazpi, joined the Regional Gender and Development Council (RGADC) virtual meeting held on April 22, 2021. The group was represented by no less than the President of WIMA Philippines – Ms. Merle Jimenez San Pedro, who is concurrently the president of Mariners’ Legazpi as well. Accompanying her was a number of fellow women advocates among the school personnel.
In the said forum, Ms. San Pedro proposed the adoption of Babaye Kit distribution, as part of an inter-agency/stakeholder collective advocacy. This, she highlighted by showcasing the partnership between Mariners’ Legazpi and WIMA Bikol, that has already given out a total of 595 kits after the onslaught of Typhoon Rolly in 2020.
Babaye Kit is a collection of hygiene and gender-specific supplies explicitly tailored to meet the non-food needs of women and girls especially in a disaster situation. Each Kit contains but not limited to sanitary pads, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, bath soap, sachets of shampoo, alcohol, comb, insect repellant, and towel. It is a project originally conceptualized by the school’s Office for Research and Extension Services (ORES), as part of the school’s community extension program. Through the partnership, it was later on adopted by WIMA BIKOL, and eventually by WIMA Philippines.
The proposal was warmly welcomed, and in recognition to the pioneering efforts of Mariners’ in particular, especially in its strong advocacy for GAD promotion in close collaboration with WIMA BIKOL, the school has been invited by NEDA Regional Director Agnes Tolentino to be a regular member of the Council. As such, MPCFLC is the first and only private HEI to be included as a member. To date the school shares its membership with BU, which has also been included.