Local ‘Admin’ rebuilds pathways to connect coastal community

For the hundreds of families in the coastal communities of Barangay Tanza 2 in Navotas, Philippines, the always-ready Administrator, Irma Bantique Glomar, is the one to seek out if something needs fixing.

“If something goes wrong, always ask Admin,” they like to say.

Barangay Tanza 2 includes four waterway communities connected to the main road by a series of dilapidated wooden-plank walkways above the water that flows from the river to the sea. These dangerous walkways were first built in the 1980s and have been battered by years of wear and tear.

Glomar regularly visits the waterways communities like this one to take stock of their needs. Photo: UN Women/Christine Chung

Living in the barangay, Irma knows all too well the community’s challenges. She shares how people would often tread on the rotten planks while carrying heaving loads like groceries or the day’s catch of fish. Or how playful children would run across the planks. She recalls with a nervous laugh the many times she got urgent calls for help – “A child accidentally fell from the planks again!”

The dilapidated planks serve as bridges between the community and the outside world. Photo: UN Women/Christine Chung
The November 2020 typhoons worsened the condition of the walkways in the waterways communities. Photo: UN Women/Christine Chung

So, Irma and her colleagues set their sights on repairs. While the community originally had enough money to fix some of the walkways, COVID-19 meant the funds were diverted to essential health care services. Then, in November 2020, Typhoons Goni and Vamco further damaged the planks, making it harder for people to get about amid the strong waves. The fishing catch dwindled and the garden that fed the entire community was destroyed.

Irma checks on a plank that needs to be replaced. Photo: UN Women/Christine Chung
Barangay workers including the barangay captain (centre) and Irma (peeking out at right) playfully pose after inspecting roads in Barangay Tanza 2. Photo: UN Women/Christine Chung

Through the Agapay Nanay – meaning ‘supporting mothers (women)’ – initiative, UN Women has helped secure materials to rebuild these pathways, while also distributing relief packages along with health and hygiene kits to the residents of the barangay.

The new walkways mean women in the waterway communities can now go about their daily routines more safely. Photo: UN Women/Christine Chung
Photo: UN Women/Christine Chung

Now, with the support of UN Women and the dedicated hard work of ‘Admin’ Irma, the residents of these waterway communities can safely go about their daily routines.