In its bid to help empower returning women overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) through provision of livelihood opportunities, the Department of Labor and Employment-National Reintegration Center for OFWs (DOLE-NRCO), in partnership with the Coca-Cola Far East Limited (CCFEL) recently awarded livelihood starter kits to 10 Women REACH! scholar-graduates in Manila.


The WOMEN REACH! or “Women Entrepreneurs Reintegrated and Economically Active at Home” is a convergence program of DOLE attached agencies that implements reintegration program for OFWs and CCFEL. These are the NRCO, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns (BWSC), International Labor Affairs Bureau (ILAB) and DOLE Regional Offices.

During the awarding ceremonies at the Waterfront Manila Pavilion Hotel in Manila, the 10 Women REACH! scholars, representing the first batch of 43 Women REACH! scholar-graduates, received micro-business package containing one sack of rice, assorted canned goods, toiletries, grocery items, and other tools and jigs to start with their chosen micro-business enterprise.


The rest of the scholar-graduates will get their respective livelihood starter kits at the DOLE Regional Offices and OWWA Regional Centers that are nearest to their community or residence.


Before qualifying to avail the starter kits, the first batch of Women REACH! scholar graduates consisting of undocumented and distressed women OFW-returnees underwent a 12-day training on business and financial management which was sponsored by the Coca-Cola Philippines, TESDA, and NRCO under the Balik Pinay, Balik-Hanapbuhay program.


DOLE Undersecretary Ciriaco Lagunzad III in his inspirational message, challenged the scholar-beneficiaries to find additional means to further grow their microbusinesses. “Please do not be dependent on what can be obtained from your business. Explore other resources. For instance, engage in training to further enhance your business capacity. This will lead you to think outside the box, and enable you to venture in other profitable trade, such as rice retailing, health and wellness salon, or food production business,” said Usec. Lagunzad.


One of the 10 beneficiaries, Maria Liezel Macato, was beaming with gratitude upon receiving her micro-enterprise assistance.


“Maraming salamat po sa tulong na ito ng DOLE-NRCO at Coca Cola. Makakaasa po kayo na amin po itong paka-iingatan at palalaguin,” said Macato.


Women REACH! is a combination of the Coca Cola 5by20 initiative which seeks to empower five million women entrepreneurs worldwide within the company’s global value chain by 2020.


It was conceptualized by the DOLE and Coca Cola as a public-private partnership under the DOLE’s Assist WELL Program.

Present during the awarding ceremonies were DOLE Undersecretary Ciriaco A. Lagunzad III; Coca-Cola Philippines Vice President for Public Affairs and Communications Atty. Adel A. Tamano; NRCO Director Chona M. Mantilla; TESDA Director Sonia Lipio; Coca Cola Phil. Sustainability and Community Affairs Manager Gilda Maquilan, with Ms. Joy Munsayac; Marikina City Public Employment Service Office (PESO) Mr. Gildegardo Munar;  Marikina OFW Family Circle Assoc. Inc. Pres. Dr. Ernita Santos; DOLE National Capital Region OIC-Div. Chief Ms. Aurora Halcon; DOLE BWSC representative Ms. Eva Carpio; and OWWA representative, Ms. Daisy Furaque.


END/Tim Laderas with report from NRCO

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