Aquino: Gov’t focused on economic emancipation of women

Natashya Gutierrez
Aquino: Gov’t focused on economic emancipation of women
President Benigno Aquino III hails the contribution of women sari-sari store and carinderia owners to the Philippine economy

MANILA, Philippines – As International Women’s Month comes to a close, President Benigno Aquino III detailed his administration’s achievements in advancing women’s economic emancipation.

On Wednesday, March 25, Aquino honored over 5,000 sari-sari store (small convenience store) and carinderia (eatery) owners, beneficiaries of the Sari-Sari Store Training and Access to Resources (STAR) program.

The STAR program is a partnership between Coca-Cola Philippines and the Technical and Education Skills Development Authority (TESDA). 

“It is true that because of our working together: The women win, the market and local commerce win, the Philippines wins,” he said.

The STAR program, implemented in 2012, aims to provide access to skills training, resources, and peer mentoring to 200,000 women sari-sari store and carinderia owners and operators all over the country by 2020.

Aquino praised the women entrepreneurs for their contribution to the country’s economic growth, recognizing their transforming roles as women.

“Our women entrepreneurs are not just the light of the home or merely partners of their husbands in livelihood. They themselves serve as beacons of progress and hope for their communities,” the President said.

Aquino also said women have benefitted more than men through TESDA’s programs, and cited data to back it up.

Currently, there are 34,000 beneficiaries of STAR, with an additional 10,000 more women by the first semester of 2015. Of the 7.15 million graduates of TESDA’s technical vocation programs between 2010 to 2014, 3.63 million are women. As for TESDA scholars, 710,848 of the 1.42 million beneficiaries are women.

“The government is focused on giving opportunities to all. And if you look closer, there are slightly more women who are being helped by the government through TESDA….Women are ahead,” he said.

The President also said TESDA has included women in training for traditionally male-oriented industries including welding, automotive servicing, and electronics.

“This is the point of TESDA-Coke Sari-Sari Store Training and Access to Resources Program or STAR: to empower and give opportunities to thousands of women microentrepreneurs to contribute to the development of their community; deliver more comfort to their families; and further the significant transformation of our economy,” he said.

The STAR program gives women entrepreneurs access to additional funds and alternative financial services to start their businesses, guides them in planning and running their businesses, and teaches gender sensitivity in homes and communities. It also provides peer monitoring by linking up women entrepreneurs to others in the business network.

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