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Bersong Euro-Pinoy Goes to Zamboanga Con Buen Amistad on 21 May 2021 at 6pm

May 14, 2021

It is Viva Europa time once again! Allow us to ignite the fire and passion in your hearts as the European Union brings back “Bersong Euro-Pinoy” on 21 May at 6pm in Zamboanga.   The fire and fervour of European verses coupled with Chavacano and other languages from Southern Philippines continue this May through this literary festival.   The EU Delegation to the Philippines has worked in tandem with the Embassies of Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Spain and Instituto Cervantes Manila, France, the Philippine-Italian Association, Austria, Poland, Finland and Ateneo de Zamboanga University.   Dubbed “Con Buen Amistad,” or “Friendship and Partnership”, this poetry recital (Verses Versus the Virus) will be streamed live at the FB page of the EU Delegation to the Philippines:   facebook.com/EUDelegationToThePhilippines.   European Union Ambassador  Luc Véron, a patron and lover of literature himself,  said that Bersong Euro-Pinoy will provide a platform for European and Filipino poets and literary enthusiasts to better understand and appreciate each other’s culture and to strengthen people-to-people links between and among Europeans and Filipinos.   With the “new normal” being in place, this cultural journey is even easier.   A brainchild of Instituto Cervantes, it used to be held under the framework of “Dia del Libro” gathering all diplomats and literary enthusiasts from among the members of the EU Delegation to the Philippines, EU member states’ embassies and cultural institutes.     EU and Ateneo de Zamboanga University Partnership    Literary luminaries from Zamboanga and Mindanao  will read their pieces also in the mother tongue: M.J. Cagumbay Tumamac, poet in Hiligaynon, Southern Mindanao, Awardee of Makata ng Taon 2019;  Sigrid Gayangos, poet in Chabacano, Zamboanga City/Dumaguete City, Awardee of Palanca Award 2018; and Errol Merquita, a recipient of Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards (2011, 2015, 2017) and Satur Apoyon Writing Contest (2010), for fiction in Cebuano and poetry for children in Filipino.   These poets were mobilized by the Ateneo de Zamboanga University, this year’s academic partner along with De La Salle University.    “The Ateneo de Zamboanga University is very grateful to be part of the European Union Delegation to the Philippines’ Poetry Recital this year. In these trying times, we need words that build, words that bring comfort, words that heal, and this literary event provides that. Let us continue to seek inspiration from friendships that flourish, and celebrate our freedom to collectively rise above difficulties”, said Fr Karel San Juan, President of Ateneo de Zamboanga University.   Errol Merquita will read his original poem Pangamuyo sa Brgy. Diatagon, Lianga  (sa padayong pagbakwit ug kagubot) with English translation by Ralph Semino Galán,  Entreaty from Brgy. Diatagon, Lianga  (On the continuing evacuation and chaos);     Sigrid Marianne Gayangos will read his poem Cuando ya busca yo con el maga palabra with English translation by Floraime Oliveros Pantaleta (When I was searching for the words);   MJ Tumamac will read his poem Pabay-an nga magbalhas sang nana ang ginasugba nga indangan which Mr. Eric Nebran translated into English (Let pus drip from the surgeonfish sweating on the grill).   Literary Masterpieces Around the EU     Carl Norac, Belgium's fourth National Poet and a prize-winning poet and author of many widely acclaimed and best-selling children's books, will join this year’s festival.   Norac’s work has been translated into 47 languages. His bilingual children's book "My Daddy is a Giant" appeared in Tagalog-English in 2005. In 2009, Norac received the Grand Prix de la Société des Gens De Lettres. He will recite his original works: "Pour Marcel Moreau" - For Marcel Moreau, his friend who is a Belgian writer too and who has unfortunately recently passed away and  "Pour Mustafa, pour Mustafa Kör" (For Mustafa, for Mustafa Kör), a poem dedicated to Mustafa Kör who will in fact succeed him in January 2022 as a National Poet.   Dora Šedivá, daughter of Ambassador Jana Šedivá  (Czech Embassy) is back with her friend, Marika Štěpková, daughter of Deputy Ambassador Jana Peterková, (Czech Embassy)  will read Fortune (Štěstí) by Adolf Heyduk, both in Czech and in English.   Hans Christian Andersen´s philosophy and favourite phrase was “Det er Liv et Reise” or “To Travel is to Live” by Hans Christian Andersen, which will be read by Danish Ambassador Grete Sillasen.   For the first time, German actress Luisa Katharina Davids will recite the German translation of  “Mi Ultimo Adios“ as 2021 is the year when the German Embassy also unveils an exhibition with José Rizal’s former furniture from Heidelberg, Germany, and an official marker with the German translation of “Mi Ultimo Adios“ at the Museo ni José Rizal in Intramuros. (For more information about the artist, please visit www.luisakatharinadavids.de)   Famous poet and director of Instituto Cervantes in Madrid, Mr Luis Garcia Montero, will recite his original work “Magallanes” for Bersong Euro-Pinoy.   Luis García Montero (Granada, 1958) is the General Director of the Instituto Cervantes since 2018. Professor of Spanish Literature at the University of Granada (Spain), he held various positions such as the director of the Secretariat for University Extension.  Poet, narrator and essayist, he has received, among others, the Adonáis Poetry Prize (1982), the National Literature Prize (1994), the National Critics Prize (2003), the Madrid Booksellers Guild Prize (2009), the Poets Prize del Mundo Latino (Mexico, 2010), Ramón López Velarde Award (Mexico, 2017), Parallel 0 Award (Ecuador, 2018) or Carlo Betocchi Literary Award (Italy, 2020).     Famous poem “Amis, Un Dernier Mot” (Friends, one last word) by Victor Hugo will be read by French actress Anne Gauther Das Neves. The poem was translated by  Martin Macalintal, audio-visual attache French Embassy and Jean - Pierre Dumont, Director, Alliance Francaise de Manille.      Rima LII”, a sonnet on friendship by Dante Alighieri, will be read by Alessandro Milani, General Manager of the Philippine-Italian Association.  This is in celebrations of Dante Alighieri’s 700th death anniversary. The Philippine-Italian Association will feature a sonnet written by Dante to his best friend, Guido Cavalcanti.   What makes this poetry edition more exciting is that it will bring back the   Italian poetry festival “La punta della lingua”. Luigi Socci is the featured poet with Lorenzo Raponi and Stefano Teodori as filmmakers participating in this festival.   La Punta della Lingua” is an international festival, based in Ancona, Italy, dedicated to “TOTAL POETRY” that since 2006 continues to explore possibilities of interaction between poetry texts and moving images as well as other forms of hybridization of poetry with the web, theater, music and cinema.   Popular Austrian poem “Love” by Erich Fried will be read by Tajna Platzer of the Embassy of Austria.   “Labirynt” or “Labyrinth” by Nobel Peace Prize Winner Wisława Szymborska will be rendered by Chargé d'Affaires of the Embassy of Poland Jaroslaw Roman Szczepankiewicz.   Nocturne, Finnish poem by Eino Leino and translated by Keith Bosley will be read by Finnish Ambassador  Juha Pyykkö.    After Zamboanga, the Bersong Euro-Pinoy goes to Manila through the De La Salle University on 28 May 2021 at 5pm.  The festival will be hosted by journalist and EHEF goodwill ambassador Danie Laurel, Ph D and Ms  Floraime Oliveros Pantaleta of Western Mindanao - National Committee on Literary Arts at National Commission for Culture and the Arts.

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Indigenous peoples’ own story takes spotlight as NCIP unveils coffee table books

May 12, 2021

The indigenous cultural communities/indigenous peoples (ICCs/IPs) have led the charge in paying tribute and memorializing their identities and rituals as the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) on Sunday launched three coffee table books under Project “Epanaw” or “Journey,” showcasing the story of ICCs/IPs through their own eyes.   The three coffee table books “Pagkilala” (Recognize), “Paggalang” (Respect), and “Pagtaguyod” (Promote) were simultaneously unveiled at SM Aura Premier and SM Lanang Premier, along with a month-long photo exhibit that features the profiles and lives of ICCs/IPs. NCIP Commissioner Norberto Navarro, a member of the Ivatan tribe himself, touted the uniqueness of the coffee table books describing them as “probably the most comprehensive anthology of ethnographic information we have.” “This one is different because these were authorized by the communities themselves. These were approved by them. While it might be the most comprehensive, it is by far the most authoritative anthology of ethnographic information,” Commissioner Navarro said in a speech. NCIP Chairperson Sec. Allen Capuyan said Project Epanaw seeks to “memorialize the identities and rituals of the indigenous peoples as well as highlight the importance of protecting their ancestral domains.”  The Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), the NCIP’s partner in the publication of the coffee table books, expressed commitment in sustaining its partnership with the Commission in strengthening programs geared towards the recognition and promotion of ICCs/IPs.  “Ang aking hangad at dasal ay sa pagpapatuloy ng ating shared advocacy dito sa movement na ito ay hindi lang mare-recognize natin ang uniqueness ng iba’t ibang tribo, kundi titignan natin bilang mga Pilipino – isang tribo tayo at the end of the day,” said Atty. Maria Anthonette C. Velasco-Allones, TPB Chief Operating Officer. Atty. Allones said immediately after assuming her post in TPB, Project Epanaw was the first project she committed as she sought to help realize the vision of documenting the “richness of the diversity and uniqueness of our ICCs/IPs across the country.” ‘Shake off misinformation, untrue myths’  For her part, Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat stressed the importance of scaling up documentation of ICCs/IPs through their own perspectives to “shake off the misinformation and unjust stereotypes.”  “While much has been accomplished in the 24 years since Republic Act No. 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act came into being, it has been hard to shake off the misinformation, untrue myths, or unjust stereotypes that the general public has about indigenous peoples. It will take a monumental effort to reshape the old and entrenched ways of thinking but Project ‘Epanaw’ bids to accomplish exactly that and in the process, encourage more Filipinos to protect and stand up for the rights of all IPs in this great diverse nation,” Sec. Romulo-Puyat said in a video message.  DSWD Director Janet Armas shared the same sentiments as she expressed the need to give a boost to the rich and robust history of tradition-based culture and political autonomy of ICCs/IPs through documentation.  “Oftentimes, it is the indigenous peoples who are at the receiving line, forcing them out of their ancestral lands, isolated from government services, further marginalized by unequal distribution of social and economic privileges,” Director Armas, a member of the Kalanguya and Kankanaey tribe, said in a speech. “There are a lot of IP families and children struggling and they are still in this situation. And this is the very reason why I committed to really be an advocate of the IP.” ‘Milestone achievement’  The Commission on Human Rights has also lauded the NCIP for this “milestone achievement of memorializing history, culture, and identities of ICCs/IPS.” CHR Chairperson Chito Gascon described the project as a “concrete step in recognizing their rights and empowering them by letting them tell their narrative through their own eyes and with their own voice.” Meanwhile, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. described the launching of the books as a “good start” in empowering the voices of the ICCs/IPs. “By knowing who are our ancestors – the real ancestors – then probably we could put ourselves into better starts. And these coffee table books are a good start,” Gen. Esperon said. Project Epanaw’s photo exhibit will tour select SM malls across the country beginning March 21, and will stay in each mall for two weeks at a time. “We hope that through the photo exhibit, along with the launch of the three coffee table books, more people will be more aware of the rich heritage of our indigenous brothers and sisters and their significant contributions to our country,” SM Supermalls president Steven Tan said.  During the launching, the NCIP also kicked off the second phase of Project Epanaw which pushes to ramp up research and documentation of indigenous knowledge systems and practices. The Indigenous Peoples Research Development Project (IPRDP) focuses on deepening studies on the baseline data and information gathered through the coffee table books. Under IPRDP, Secretary Capuyan said the IPs themselves will be “trained to participate as primary researchers in coming up with their own ethnographies.”  ABOUT THE NATIONAL COMMISSION ON INDIGENOUS PEOPLES The NCIP is the primary government agency that formulates and implements policies, plans and programs for the recognition, promotion and protection of the rights and well-being of IPs with due regard to their ancestral domains and lands, self-governance and empowerment, social justice and human rights, and cultural integrity.

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SM and Pasay LGU to build one of the biggest vaccination centers in the Philippines

May 12, 2021

SM, together with National University, and the local government of Pasay City have partnered for ‘Vacc to the Future’ program to build one of the biggest vaccination centers in the country which will accommodate around 2,000 individuals per day.   "We are very happy to partner with the Pasay local government unit for this project," said SM Supermalls president Steven Tan. "With the vaccine center, this will greatly help in doubling efforts to hasten the vaccination of our community members, especially the medical frontliners, the elderly, and those who have co-morbidities."     Pasay Mayor Emi Calixto-Rubiano said that the partnership with SM Supermalls is a win for the city as they work hard to accommodate as many people as they can for COVID-19 vaccinations with this milestone project.   "We hope that our partnership with SM will encourage more people to sign up and get the vaccine so that we can slowly return to our normal lives. We all want to live safely and connect with our families and friends in person. We would like to thank SM Supermalls for making this possible," said Calixto-Rubiano.    The facility is also fitted with an air-conditioning system and will soon feature a drive-through section for vaccination.  SM, in partnership with various LGUs, has rolled out multi-mall vaccination program with over 30 SM malls nationwide which were identified as partner vaccination sites. SM has ongoing vaccination activities in over 10 malls but will activate more and resume others once vaccines in some areas have arrived and become available. Since the start of the pandemic, SM Supermalls has been at the forefront of helping Filipinos. Many SM malls have served as COVID-19 testing sites in partnership with the Philippine Red Cross.   The company has also donated beds, linens, and pillows to schools, such as Ateneo de Manila, University of the Philippines, and other institutions who turned some of the classrooms and dormitories into COVID-19 facility wards.

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Security in uncertain times: Coca-Cola’s Balik Pinas program gives opportunities for returning OFWs amid pandemic

May 8, 2021

Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines, Inc. (CCBPI), the bottling arm of Coca-Cola in the country, has committed to helping overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) via its Balik Pinas program—an initiative that provides repatriated OFWs due to COVID-19 with opportunities to start their own businesses.   Since the program’s expansion in 2020 as a direct response to the pandemic-wrought job crisis, CCBPI has received over 400 inquiries and has thus far assisted over 40 OFWs in becoming business owners who are now part of the Coca-Cola family as distributors or wholesalers.    “By providing livelihood opportunities, especially to those who suddenly found themselves without stable incomes and unable to provide for their families, Coca-Cola is staying true to its pledge to help revive the Philippine economy via job generation and to support Filipinos confronting adversities,” says Gareth McGeown, CEO and President of CCBPI.   CCBPI assists former OFWs in choosing a suitable business model for their area, helps in managing their cash flow and inventory, and sees to it that they are given proper guidance and training until they are prepared and fully equipped to operate on their own—all in all, a sustainable and profitable business founded on practical support from a global beverage brand.   The Company’s goal to assist Filipinos, and consequently revitalize the economy at such a critical time, has been steadily expanding in reach to transform more lives. Further illustrating the program’s success by bringing Coca-Cola to more communities, we follow these Balik Pinas Program pioneers wo have just rewritten the trajectories of their life stories with their inspiring journeys—Melody Carillo, Jo Mari Biara, and Glenn Dela Cerna.      Selfless motherhood rising above a reversal of fortunes   Returning OFW Melody Carillo with her daughter, proudly shows off Sam Yau Consumer Goods Wholesaling—the business she established in Brgy. Kalaisan, Kidapawan through the help of Coca-Cola’s Balik Pinas Program.    With her nine-month-old baby in tow, Melody Carillo returned to the Philippines from Hong Kong, following a series of devastations ranging from personal heartache to professional disappointment. She and her then-newborn were abandoned by the child’s father—and then the pandemic collided against the renewal of her contract as a domestic helper and nanny when her employers had to cut costs after losing their own jobs.   Melody’s story was marked by a reversal of fortunes, but she overcame her challenges with her perseverance and her strong will. Upon her unplanned homecoming in September 2020, Melody bravely confronted the need to support her small family. Her original plan to start her own business—the reason she left for Hong Kong in the first place—found footing in her hometown of Brgy. Kalaisan, Kidapawan.   Melody learned of Coca-Cola’s Balik Pinas program through Sales Associate Ariel Pocot, and the two discussed how the program could help her achieve her dream of becoming a business owner. At the tail-end of February 2021, Sum Yau Consumer Goods Wholesaling—named after Melody’s daughter—was successfully launched. In just under a month of operations, Sum Yau has bought and sold around 4,200 cases of Coca-Cola beverages.   Melody shares that she is “so happy and blessed” for having been given an opportunity to pursue a livelihood, no matter the personal obstacles she had to face. She credits the Coca-Cola South Davao Sales Team for guiding her through every step of the process, from the initial orientation to her first order and delivery, from establishing a servicing schedule to training her how to sell.     Avenues for altruistic service   Balik Pinas pioneer Jo Mari Baira with Coca-Cola Representatives led by Region Sales Manager Wendell Dayrit, in front of his store in the Municipality of Columbio, Sultan Kudarat. Joms was one of the recipients of OWWA’s Balik Bayani Award 2020.   Jo Mari Baira had been working in Saudi Arabia for nearly seven years as a payroll officer. He considers himself a passionate individual, with a big heart that was increasingly insisting on a life of service for his country—which is why Joms took the chance to return home to reunite with his family in Columbio, Sultan Kudarat and serve his local community.   A different opportunity for service, however, presented itself to Jo Mari upon his return to the Philippines through a friend who convinced him to team up with his sister to start a small business venture. According to Joms, thanks to Coca-Cola’s never-ending support, the business they started since returning home from Saudi has been fruitful since its first day of operations.   “Hindi nila [Coca-Cola] kami iniiwan, everyday open ang komunikasyon, consistent sila sa mga emails at check-ups o sa kamustahan. At natutuwa kami ngayon dahil hindi lamang nagbebenta sila sa amin pero nag-aasist sila palagi,” shares Joms. [Coca-Cola has never left us behind, communication lines were open every day, and they were consistent with their emails and with checking up on us. We’re happy that the relationship is not just based on selling; they are always present to assist us.]   Joms takes pride in the growth of their small business via the Balik Pinas program—an avenue to provide for his family and an opportunity to serve his community. He shares that he plans to expand his small business as a distributor and dealer, involve and engage the rest of the community, and serve as an inspiration to fellow OFWs.     Family at the heart of the business   Now a businessman thanks to the Balik Pinas Program, Glenn Dela Cerna gives a big thumbs up to celebrate the success of his store in Brgy Quezon, Surigao City. Glenn returned home to the Philippines after working for 15-years in Abu Dhabi. He was recognized by DOLE-OWWA during its Balik Bayani Awards 2020.   Another Balik Pinas program pioneer, Glenn Dela Cerna, spent almost 15 years as a construction worker and electrical foreman in Abu Dhabi—to provide for the needs and the welfare of his family back home in Surigao City. The pandemic, however, had him returning home and worrying about the cost of his children’s education given the loss of his long-standing livelihood.   A small business, one he can attend to in the immediate orbit of his family, was the route he took—and Glenn emerged as a businessman and wholesaler with the help of Balik Pinas. Glenn describes how helpful Coke has been, supporting him throughout the challenges of launching a business—which, in his case, involves servicing a more remote area.   “Nag start na kami at within 24 hours may na-deliver na sa amin na mga produkto. Mga 30 to 40 cases na agad, at nagbigay din sila ng cooler, stand, at lalagyan para sa products,” shares Glenn. [Within 24 hours of starting, we received the delivery of around 30 to 40 cases of Coke products. They also sent over a cooler, stands, and containers for products.]   Glenn and his family take pride in their business, particularly in building it from the ground up. Driven by his immense love for family and his determination to reach a more comfortable future, he shares that he would like to stay in the Philippines and further grow his business.      Coca-Cola standing in solidarity with Filipinos   The common thread winding their way through the stories of Balik Pinas pioneers is the drive to secure a better tomorrow for their family. This reflects Coca-Cola’s main goal for the program—to provide opportunities to Filipinos, especially those who have been severely affected by these challenging times, and help restart the local economy by providing individuals the possibility of starting their own livelihood.   According to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), over 400,000 OFWs have been repatriated since January 2021. With the help of DOLE and local government units, Coca-Cola aims to reach more OFWs who are interested in starting their own business through Balik Pinas.    For referrals and more details, contact the Coca-Cola contact center at (02)-8813-COKE (2653). Spread the word to be one with the Company in helping our kababayan.

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Coca-Cola signs MOU with Batanes local government; will empty Eco Center of used PET bottles for recycling

May 1, 2021

Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines, Inc. (CCBPI)—the bottling arm of Coca-Cola in the country—and the Municipality of Basco, Batanes held a fitting commemoration of Earth Day on April 22 by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the collection and recycling of PET bottles.  Batanes is considered a prime tourism destination and is part of the tentative list for inscription in the UNESCO-World Heritage List—which the Philippine government has been pursuing through the establishment of art and conservation projects within the island province.  Due to various factors, such as the need for a more robust waste management system, the Batanes capital Basco faces a critical issue over its waste disposal processes. As part of its World Without Waste vision, Coca-Cola reached out to the Basco local government with a proposal to clear Basco’s Eco Center of about 20,000 kilograms or 20 tons of post-consumer recyclable PET bottles, which have accumulated throughout the years. Further to this, the MOU also establishes a post-consumer PET flow from Batanes to Gen. Trias, Cavite—where Coca-Cola and Indorama Venture’s bottle-to-bottle recycling facility PETValue will rise.  “This project is very important to us because for the longest time, it has been a challenge especially for our MENRO on how we can take out from Basco the piled up PET bottles [in our area]. The Municipal government’s budgetary and operational limitation hamper us from doing a big scale transport of our PET bottles, and there are only a few junkshops that operate in Basco who can help us ship out these materials.” said Mayor Demetrius C. Narag of Basco, during a virtual signing ceremony.   Mayor Narag, in his address to CCBPI representatives, said, “On behalf of the whole community of Basco, we are sending you our heartfelt thanks for initiating this project. This morning signifies our commitment to our partnership.”    PETValue and value in every PET bottle  “We are grateful to the Basco local government for welcoming us as a partner in the collective pursuit of a World Without Waste. There is inherent value in every post-consumer PET bottle as a 100% recyclable material, and these, therefore, should not be stockpiled in dumpsites,” said Atty. Juan Lorenzo Tañada, Director for Corporate & Regulatory Affairs, Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines, Inc.  “What we will collect from Basco will be used as initial feedstock for PETValue’s processes,” adds Tañada, “and we will be storing them responsibly while we wait for the facility to be operational.”  In 2019, Coca-Cola embarked on building the country’s first bottle-to-bottle, food-grade recycling facility called PETValue Philippines. In partnership with Indorama Ventures, a global leader in green technologies, this PHP1B facility is set to have the capacity to process approximately 30,000 metric tons/ year or almost 3 billion pieces of plastic bottles. In 2020, the Department of Trade and Industry’s Board of Investments (BOI) granted PETValue a pioneer technology status, which means that PETValue’s green technologies and processes are the first of their kind in the country.  Coca-Cola aims to establish a circular economy for its packaging by collecting clear bottles made from PET (polyethylene terephthalate)—even those produced by other manufacturers—and create a value chain that will make it for these recyclable materials to be collected and recycled. PETValue will also generate more jobs for Filipinos, overall contributing to economic recovery alongside ecological welfare.  The construction of the PETValue facility in General Trias, Cavite is underway and is projected to be completed by Q4 of 2021. Coca-Cola has been working with local government units and NGO partners to help build the recycling facility’s feedstock or stored post-consumer PET bottles to ensure enough input will be fed into the facility.   A commitment to packaging innovation and energy and water sustainability In 2019, Coca-Cola changed the iconic Sprite green packaging to clear PET to increase recyclability. Clear PET plastic bottles have the highest recyclability compared to colored ones. The Company has also been delivering solid results in its energy efficiency and water replenishment targets. Water savings initiatives in operations and community projects such as the Coca-Cola Foundation PH’s AGOS program, have enabled the Company to achieve an estimated 112% water replenishment.  In March of 2021, Coca-Cola completed the installation of 14,000 solar panels in three of its plants, in a move toward more expansive renewable energy sourcing. To date, 65% of the CCBPI’s total energy consumption across the Philippines is sourced from clean and renewable sources.  “Our partnership with Basco has effectively opened up the vast potential of PET collection for recycling here in the Philippines,” says Tañada. “This is only the beginning, and we at CCBPI will continue working with our partners for sustainability.”

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foodpanda Riders: Heroes Who Wear Pink

May 1, 2021

This Labor Day, foodpanda proudly honors its riders as heroes in the frontlines -- delivering food and other essentials to their customers’ doorsteps so the rest of us can stay safe at home. They are true heroes to their community, to their customers, and to their families. foodpanda shares these stories of riders who bravely face the everyday challenge of working through the pandemic, motivated by different reasons towards their mission to deliver quality service.   Hero for the community 25-year-old John Kevin Cuneta has been a foodpanda rider since October 2020 and aside from the fact that he likes the uniform that he dons for the job, he has formed friendships with many other foodpanda riders in his area. They have a Facebook chat group, he says, and because of his experience with outreach programs in places where a calamity has occurred, he has mobilized the other riders to do charity work in their community. A fire broke out recently in Pasay, where they are based, and the riders chipped in to help their co-riders, along with other families who lost their homes. “Monthly na iyang program namin. Kung walang mga pangyayari tulad ng sunog, nagbibigay kami ng pagkain sa mga homeless.  Ang mga asawa namin ang taga-luto. Makikita mo talaga ang saya ng mga tao kapag nag-aabot kami ng maliit naming tulong,” he smiles. Being on the road as a delivery rider since 2016, he has encountered the challenges that many other delivery drivers face and he felt the urge to document what they do, to show the public what goes on behind an efficient delivery. He went around on his shifts with his DSLR camera, and started taking photos of the other riders at work. “Minsan kasi nakakalimutan ng mga tao na kaming mga delivery riders ay frontliners din. Kami ay talagang gumagawa ng paraan para ma-satisfy ang aming mga customers. Halimbawa niyan, kapag may natapon na soft drinks, bumibili kami sa tindahan para mapalitan ito, kasi ayaw namin na hindi masaya ang customer.”     Known in his circles as “Mr. Pitik” and with his camera work gaining notice on his Facebook page, his photography hobby has now grown into a side hustle, where he has been commissioned to shoot intimate gatherings and events.   Jhan Camsa, foodpanda rider in Davao City Hero for the customers Jhan Camsa has been a foodpanda rider in Davao City since March 2020, and his service definitely went above and beyond customer expectations. He recounts the time he received a booking from a customer during a flood. The 31-year-old says he risked his personal safety just to make sure that the order went through. “Hanggang tuhod na ang baha, paikot ikot ako, naghahanap ng paraan, pero hindi na kaya ng motorsiklo ko na dumaan,” he described. He could have cancelled the order, but he chose to power through the rain. “Nag park ako ng motor ko, at naglakad. Hindi ko na naisip ang sarili kong kapakanan kasi ang iniintindi ko ay dahil hindi makakalabas ng bahay yung customer, baka wala na silang makain.” His customer was so surprised, he says, “Akala nila ika-cancel ko. Pero tumawag ako sa kanila na papunta ako habang nilalakad ko na yung mga 500 meters papunta sa kanila.” The appreciative customer gave him a tip, he says, and they worried about his safety. He says, though, that it is all part of the job, and mentions that his wife was filled with pride when she heard what he did. “Ginawa ko lang po yung trabaho ko as a foodpanda rider, para din po makita ng mga customer, na kahit ulan, init, baha, nag-dedeliver talaga ang mga foodpanda riders. At tsaka po para din sa pamilya ko. Kasi marami akong pangarap sa buhay.” Jhan says he hopes that with his earnings as a foodpanda rider, he will be able to save enough to start his own business someday. Jaime Marcelino Jr   Hero for the family Jaime Marcelino Jr., through hard work and determination was able to work in the F&B industry as a chef in a luxury property. “Nag-umpisa ako sa isang Japanese restaurant, doon ako natuto gumawa ng mga Maki. Hanggang nakapag trabaho na ako sa high-end na restaurant na Asian cuisine.” Things were going well, until the pandemic struck. “Nuong naapektuhan na ang operations namin, naisip ko na maghanap ng pagkakakitaan. May katrabaho ako na ang sideline ay mag rider sa foodpanda, kaya nagpatulong ako sa kanya kung paano makapasok. Tamang-tama nung nag-lockdown, natanggap na ako ng foodpanda.” His earnings as a rider is enough to sustain their needs and is also able to support his wife’s online studies.This is why, every day, he sets out from their Valenzuela home to his beat in the Quezon City area where he works for as long as 10 hours.     Whenever he feels tired, he thinks of his family and draws strength and inspiration from them “Iniisip ko, bawal pa ako mapagod kasi hindi pa ako mayaman,” he jokes. “Para sa pamilya talaga ito.” His hopes and dreams are focused on his daughter.  “Gusto ko makapagtapos siya ng pag-aaral at pag laki niya magkaroon ng maayos na pamilya.” The stories of John, Jaime, and John are only three from among the foodpanda riders who demonstrate determination and compassion. They are frontliners who show courage despite the challenges of the pandemic situation in order to help others, and in order to achieve their dreams. foodpanda invites its customers to show their appreciation the next time they receive a delivery from these heroes in pink.

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