COCA COLA PHILS, OWWA OPEN 2021 WITH HOPE,
LAUNCH BALIK BAYANI AWARDS
Coca Cola Philippines and OWWA partner to recognize 18 OFW returnees turned entrepreneurs who hurdled the challenges of the Covid19 pandemic and sustained their microbusinesses through the Balik Bayani Awards.
Twelve (12) of the OFW-awardees were graduates of OWWA and Coca Cola Phil’s entrepreneurship training Women REAcH and started their microbusinesses with OWWA’s livelihood development assistance; 1 (one) is a graduate of OFW RISe Program; and five are from the Coca Coca Balik Pinas Wholesaler Program.
Micro-enterprises realized the biggest impact of the Covid19 pandemic. The month-long lockdowns limited business activities and constrained access to both customers and suppliers, but the awardees pushed on with their undertakings. The Balik Bayani Awards recognize this OFW’s ingenuity and the hope that they demonstrate amid this difficult time.
OWWA Administrator Hans Leo J. Cacdac and Coca Cola Philippines Public Affairs and Communications and Sustainability Director Jonah De Lumen-Pernia personally delivered the Certificate of Recognition and business support package amounting to Php 30,000 to two of the awardees, OFW Maria Virginia Herbon and OFW Jofel Villaruel, who are both from Cavite.
OFW Herbon is one of the 300,000 OFW repatriates who returned to the country due to the pandemic. She was a Nursery Supervisor in UAE, but following the lockdowns, the school closed which left her stranded. During the 3rd quarter of 2020, she was able to come home to her 7 children after 4 years of staying abroad. Upon return, she immediately attended the OFW RISE Entrepreneurship Training of Coca Cola Phils, OWWA, TESDA, and DTI and set up her own Sari-Sari Store.
OFW Villaruel, on the other hand, was a domestic worker in Singapore for 10 years. In 2018, she learned that her mother has early symptoms of dementia, so she advised her employer of her desire to go home. Unfortunately, her employer was unwilling to let her go and instead embroiled her in a case which ran for two (2) years. While her case was being heard, she stayed in a care center in Singapore. It was there that she discovered her passion for handicraft and crocheting. This skill was complemented by the entrepreneurship know-how she improved when she participated in the OWWA x Coca Cola Phils Women REACH Training in Singapore last December 2020. OFW Villaruel returned to the Philippines days before the lockdown in March. Unfazed, she continued her handicraft business online, and, according to her, income from this business helped them survive the lockdowns.
Sixteen more returned OFWs will be presented with the Balik Bayani distinction within January 2021.