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Stories of hope and new beginnings: Coca-Cola's Bangon Pinas gives Filipinos a fresh start as entrepreneurs  

Published Dec 15, 2021 12:00 pm

In the past two years, countless Filipinos have recharted their journeys—taking on new roles to meet the challenges of the pandemic, and forging new paths to better secure their families’ future.

Among them are the OFWs who returned to the country as safety and austerity measures around the world heightened. Some explored entrepreneurship, while others engaged in community-centered businesses.

The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) is recognizing the grit, industry, and ingenuity of these OFW returnees through the Balik Bayani awards. And five of the awardees are beneficiaries of the CCBPI Bangon Pinas program.

New opportunities for Filipinos through Bangon Pinas

Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines, Inc., the local bottling arm of Coca-Cola, understands that charting new avenues, takes a huge amount of courage and strength.

As the company draws inspiration from the many Filipinos who are rebuilding, it also ensures that they can rely on a stable cache of support and that they can leverage on Coca-Cola’s extensive reach in realizing their goals.

Bangon Pinas traces its roots to Balik Pinas, a CCBPI initiative that extended help to repatriated OFWs whose careers had been disrupted due to the pandemic and the global crises that followed. 

Through Bangon Pinas, CCBPI continues to heed the call to assist in the revival of local communities and in the safekeeping of the welfare of Filipinos.

The original program has since expanded to cater to all Pinoys who want to start their own business as part of the Coke family.  

“We have all witnessed—and experienced—the far-reaching challenges of the pandemic, and how it has affected hardworking Filipinos from all walks of life. From the very onset of the pandemic, we knew that CCBPI had to further intensify its advocacy for local communities and, in particular, for the MSMEs and the families that run them,” shares Gareth McGeown, CEO and president of CCBPI.

A journey with Coca-Cola 

Bangon Pinas beneficiaries become part of the Coca-Cola family as distributors, wholesalers, or a community resellers. And Coca-Cola ensures that they are given the proper guidance on setting up their business and sustaining its growth.

Trained in business management basics like understanding cash flow and inventory management, and equipped with Coca-Cola resources, these new MSMEs are empowered to stand on their own as business owners.

Junedyn Guillermo was among the OFWs who were forced to return to the Philippines due to the pandemic. But in February 2021, Junedyn and his wife have become wholesalers in Nueva Vizcaya, earning enough to support their family and to rebuild their savings.

“Our partnership with Coke became not just our primary income generator but our new foundations for the future as well. Coke gives hope to micro-entrepreneurs like us,” Junedyn said.

  Rodolfo Mondragon and his wife own and operate Mondragon Beverages Trading in Las Piñas City.

In Las Piñas City, Rodolfo Mondragon operates Mondragon Beverages Trading with his wife, supplying Coca-Cola products to their community. He worked as an aircraft mechanic in Singapore for 14 years and flew back to the Philippines to be with his family amid the health crisis. Rodolfo applied for the Bangon Pinas program after learning about it on social media.

 Salvador Sato IV in his sari-sari store in Bicol.

In Bicol, Salvador Sato IV is running a Coca-Cola outlet with his family. He had chosen to stay in the country when the pandemic struck, while he was on vacation.

In the restrictions that followed, he knew he needed to look for a new source of livelihood. When his cousin introduced him to the Bangon Pinas program, Salvador grabbed the opportunity and applied.

“Coca-Cola is not just a company to us—it’s like family,” enthused Salvador. “Bangon Pinas helped me provide for my family.”

  Sheryl Atienzar of Panabo of Davao del Norte and Coca-Cola Territory sales manager Niel Orosio in front of her sari-sari store.

In Panabo, Davao del Norte, Sheryl Atienzar started building her Coca-Cola business after learning about the Bangon Pinas program. Sheryl, a former university lecturer in Phuket, Thailand, decided to retire and return to her hometown to start anew.

According to Sheryl, she is enjoying her time managing a sustainable business with her family.

  Christine Torres’ sister and mom of Misamis Oriental receive OWWA’s Balik Bayani Award on her behalf.

In Misamis Oriental, Christine Torres and her sister joined the biggest canteen in their town. Now in its sixth month of operations, Christine shared that their business has doubled in scale and profit.

Christine, who worked for an advertising company in Dubai since 2008, was introduced to the Bangon Pinas program by her OFW friend.

“And so, I grabbed the opportunity,” shared Christine. “Before that, I was already contemplating of returning back to the Philippines for good.”

Bangon Pinas is testament to Coca-Cola’s commitment to help strengthen the national economy—reaching out to Filipinos and cultivating stronger communities. Since the program’s launch, CCBPI has fielded close to 600 inquiries, successfully launching almost 100 new businesses. The company has been working to further expand the initiative’s scale. 

“Beyond meeting business goals, it was imperative that we pursue and realize our main objective as a company: to uplift the lives of the  Filipino people,” says McGeown. “Bangon Pinas program is one of the ways we do this, and it’s heartwarming to listen to stories of hope and new beginnings.” 

CCBPI has always placed service at the very heart of Coca-Cola’s 109-year presence in the country.

For information on Coca-Cola’s Bangon Pinas program, call Coca-Cola’s Contact Center at (02)-8813-Coke (2653).

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Editor’s Note: This article was provided by Coca-Cola.