President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Wednesday gave assurances that the government is working towards the economic emancipation of more women in the Philippines.
In an event organized by the Technical and Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda), 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, a partnership between the Tesda and Coca-Cola Philippines.
In his speech, the president acknowledged the role of Filipino women in shaping the nation’s future.
“Ito nga po mismo ang punto ng Tesda-Coke Sari-Sari Store Training and Access to Resources Program o STAR: Ang bigyang-lakas at oportunidad ang libo-libong women microentrepreneurs na makiambag sa lalong pagpapaunlad ng kanilang pamayanan; maghatid ng higit na ginhawa sa kani-kanilang pamilya; at isulong pa ang makabuluhang transpormasyon ng ating ekonomiya [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.
“Talagang nakatutok ang gobyerno sa pagbibigay oportunidad sa lahat. At kung titingnan ninyo, bahagyang mas maraming babae ang natutulungan at naaabot ng pamahalaan sa pamamagitan ng Tesda . . . lamang po ang kababaihan [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 added.
Aquino 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, he said.
“Sa ganitong sari-sari store, nakikita ang sigla ng kalakalan; dito rin sumisibol ang mga ugnayan na nagsisilbing tulay para sa lalong pagyabong ng negosyo [With these sari-sari stores, we see the vigor of trade; it is also here where we first see the connections that help bridge the expansion of business],” Aquino added.
The program, implemented in 2011, aims to provide access to skills training, resources, and peer mentoring to 200,000 women nationwide by 2020.
“Ang ating women entrepreneurs ay hindi na lang mga ilaw ng tahanan o simpleng kaagapay ng lalaki sa hanapbuhay. Sila na mismo ang nagsisilbing tanglaw ng kaunlaran at pag-asa para sa kanilang mga pamayanan [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],” Aquino said.
According to him, women have benefitted more than men from Tesda’s programs, and cited data to back it up.
Currently, he said 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.
Aquino said Tesda has included women in training for traditionally male-oriented industries including welding, automotive servicing, and electronics.