DOLE Teams Up With Coke for OFW Reintegration Programs

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Good news to returning female overseas Filipino workers. The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in partnership with Coca-Cola Philippines has just launched the WOMAN REACH (Women Entrepreneurs Reintegrated and Economically Active at Home), a program that aims to help women OFWs to establish their own carinderias, sari-sari stores, and other businesses.

Diego Granizo, president and general manager of Coca-Cola Philippines said at the program launching at Technical Education and Skills Development Authority’s (TESDA) Women’s Center that WOMAN REACH was created to help OFWs be financially self-reliant as they leave overseas employment for good.

“We know that when we invest behind women and we empower them economically. There are three things that they invest first: the family, education, and nurturing their kids. That is the best place where you can invest your money,” said Granizo.

The public-private partnership (PPP) is targeting two sets of beneficiaries.

First, returning female OFWs who already have their own bakeries, carinderias, sari-sari stores, restaurants, and other businesses may sign up for Coca-Cola’s Sari-Sari Store Training and Access to Resources (STAR). Second, those who want to create micro-enterprises different than those mentioned may attend TESDA seminars.

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WOMAN REACH is targeting 10,000 women migrants all of whom will go through a 12-week Basic Entrepreneurship and Gender Sensitivity course.

Those who will complete the TESDA courses will be referred to microfinance institutions for small business loans or the Assist WELL centers for start-up loans.

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Gilda Custodio-Maqilan, Coca Cola Philippine Sustainability Manager, said “Most of our sellers are actually women… It’s really finding that shared value concept wherein our core business of selling Coca-Cola, we are able to address.”

Juan Carlos Dominguez, Coca-Cola FEMSA Asia Corporate Affairs Director, added that while WOMAN REACH reaches out to female OFWs, they also have available opportunities for men.

“We provide employment to close to 20,000 Filipino across the country. We are also (providing) opportunities not only for women entrepreneurs but also for returning OFWs,” explained Dominguez.

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