Retail stars take spotlight in Women’s Month celebration

President Benigno Aquino III ends the month-long celebration of International Women’s Month by honoring and recognizing over 5,000 sari-sari store and carinderia owners who are beneficiaries of the Sari-Sari Store Training and Access to Resources (STAR) program — a partnership between Coca-Cola Philippines and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) — at the SM Mall of Asia Arena on March 25. Part of those who witnessed the event are the more than a thousand of women from Region 3, specifically from Pampanga and Bulacan.As part of the global initiative of The Coca-Cola Company to economically empower 5 million women within its value chain by year 2020, Coca-Cola Philippines together with TESDA has been implementing the STAR Program on a nationwide scale since 2012. It aims to provide access to skills training, resources, and peer mentoring to 200,000 women sari-sari store and carinderia owners and operators all over the country by 2020.

The President hailed the women entrepreneurs during the event for helping make the economy grow in their own little ways.

Secretary Joel Villanueva, TESDA Director General, said that society has come to acknowledge that apart from their traditional roles at home, women could be the success behind great businesses.

“The event aims to bolster the entrepreneurial spirit and inspire STAR scholars to scale the heights in their respective endeavors,” Villanueva said.

“Women entrepreneurs are now recognized as hardworking, ingenious persons who can create jobs and who can prosper the community through their innovative ways,” Villanueva added.

Sari-sari store and carinderia owners are identified as the pillars of the Coca-Cola business here in the Philippines. The company recognizes that by empowering women, they positively impact the communities as well.

“In order for us to have thriving communities and better economies, we need to invest on women,” said Atty. Adel Tamano, vice president for public affairs and communications of Coca-Cola Philippines.

The event was also highlighted by a forum on empowering women’s decision-making process with a powerful line-up of women speakers: Atty. Rowena Guanzon on Empowering Women’s Decisions in the Political Sphere; Dr. Margie Holmes on Empowering Women’s Decisions in the Social Sphere; and, Mrs. Alma Uy on Empowering Women’s Decisions in the Economic Sphere.  Television host Suzi Abrera served as moderator.

The STAR program continues to hone not only the women beneficiaries, but also the trainers and program implementers, who are at the forefront, managing and delivering the program at the grassroots community level.

To date, the STAR program has benefited around 30,000 women scholars.

Joining the President in recognizing the women entrepreneurs were TESDA  officials led by Villanueva, and Deputy Director General Atty. Teodoro Pascua, and representatives from Coca-Cola Philippines President and General Manager Diego Granizo, Vice President for Public Affairs and Communications Atty. Adel Tamano, and Sustainability Manager & 5by20 STAR Program lead Gilda Custodio-Maquilan. END

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