Coca-Cola, P&G, USAID to help rebuild sari-sari stores in Leyte

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 19 2013 06:38 PM | Updated as of Dec 20 2013 02:38 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Multinational giants Coca-Cola and Procter & Gamble (P&G) have partnered with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to support the economic recovery of towns in Leyte province, which was ravaged by super typhoon "Yolanda."

Under the memoranda of understanding, USAID, P&G and Coca-Cola will help establish new sari-sari stores (small community stores) and rehabilitate damaged or destroyed sari-sari stores located in public markets.

They will also facilitate sari-sari store owners’ access to micro-financing loans and other interventions to ensure their success.

"This partnership with P&G and Coca-Cola is a great example of how we can bring the shared resources of the US government and American businesses to help the people of Philippines revive economic activity and restore livelihoods. Sari-sari stores are the backbone of the Philippines consumer economy and by supporting their reconstruction and rehabilitation in Leyte, we believe we will accelerate recovery at the grassroots level," US Secretary of State John Kerry said.

USAID, P&G and Coca-Cola will help build the necessary infrastructure for the operation of sari-sari stores, promote opportunities for community entrepreneurship, and improve commercial capabilities and crisis preparedness of sari-sari store owners.

"The Philippines is a close friend and a long-standing ally of the United States and we will continue to partner with, and provide support to the Philippine Government in their efforts to help Yolanda victims rebuild and recover from the tragedy," USAID/Philippines Mission Director Gloria D. Steele said.

To date, the US Government has provided approximately P3.6 billion ($86.8 million) in emergency humanitarian funds for activities including provision of critical relief supplies, life-saving assistance and protection of vulnerable populations.

“Through this partnership with USAID, P&G will leverage its portfolio of well-known household brands, its extensive distribution network, its commercial expertise, and its long history of partnership with micro entrepreneurs who operate sari-sari stores to achieve this goal. P&G and its employees and retirees from all over the world are contributing to this effort,” said Sumeet Vohra, President and General Manager of P&G Philippines.

"We still have a long way to go and more resources are needed to rebuild the areas affected. One organization cannot do it alone, and so we at Coca-Cola are happy to work with government, civil society groups and other corporations to rebuild the communities impacted. For this partnership Coca-Cola will leverage on our STAR Program (Sari-Sari Store Training and Access to Resources) to help women sari-sari store owners rebuild their livelihood through a combination of social interventions, training, and access to resources," said Guillermo Aponte, President and General Manager of Coca-Cola Philippines.

Both P&G and Coca-Cola have donated significant amounts in relief and aid for Yolanda survivors.
Coca-Cola has contributed P107.5 million ($2.5 million) in aid, while P&G donated over P86 million ($2 Million) in cash and relief goods.