For Immediate Release
MANILA - The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) signed Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with Procter & Gamble (P&G) and Coca-Cola to support the revival of economic activity and livelihoods in Leyte, the province worst-hit by Super Typhoon Yolanda (international codename: Haiyan).
Under these MOUs, 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. In addition, these organizations will facilitate sari-sari store owners’ access to micro-financing loans and other interventions that will help them succeed.
Announcing the partnerships as part of a broad relief, recovery and rehabilitation plan, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, said, “This partnership with P&G and Coca-Cola is a great example of how we can bring the shared resources of the U.S. 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.”
Under these partnerships, 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.
USAID/Philippines Mission Director Gloria D. Steele said, “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.”
To date, the U.S. Government has provided approximately Php3.6 billion ($86.8 million) in emergency humanitarian funds for activities including provision of critical relief supplies, life-saving assistance and protection of vulnerable populations. “We will also work with Philippine Government partners in implementing disaster risk reduction programs to help increase the resilience of vulnerable communities to withstand and recover from natural calamities,” Director Steele added.
“P&G is committed to supporting the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the Philippines. In the immediate aftermath of Super Typhoon Yolanda, when basic necessities such as clean drinking water and hygiene products were scarce, we worked with our NGO partners to donate over Php86 million ($2 Million) in cash and relief goods. We recognize that now, in addition to the emergency response and disaster relief, there is need for a longer term effort to restore livelihoods and regenerate the economy of Leyte. 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.
“From day one, we have mobilized our system to provide relief and aid to communities impacted by the super typhoon, from providing safe drinking water to the use of our trucks for distribution of relief goods and engaging our employees in the relief operations,” said Guillermo Aponte, President and General Manager of Coca-Cola Philippines.
To date, Coca-Cola has contributed Php107.5 million ($2.5 million) in relief and aid. Immediately after the super typhoon, commercial advertising for all Coca-Cola brands was put on hold and redirected to the relief and rehabilitation efforts for the people of Visayas.
Aponte added that, “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. The STAR Program has impacted about 20,000 women sari-sari store owners and operators all over the Philippines.”
Last updated: December 22, 2014