Coca-Cola FEMSA (KOF) corporate affairs director Jose Ramon De Jesus Martinez Alonzo recently, made his first visit to the Philippines on official business. One advocacy took center stage in his itinerary sustainability, which he believes is an integral aspect in KOF’s shared journey with the communities in which they operate.
“Our advocacies in the Philippines have to do with education and environmental consciousness,” said Martinez. “Coca-Cola FEMSA is always thinking of how we can help nurture generations of kids that take care of water, that recycle, that know about proper nutrition. And the best vehicle to do this is education. This, we believe, is a natural part of the journey to progress, which we share with the communities with whom we work.”
Partnership Between KOF-PH and Teach for the Philippines
Martinez met with Coca-Cola FEMSA’s partners in implementing the Coordinates for Life (CFL) program, Teach for the Philippines (TFP), an NGO whose vision is to provide children with access to relevant and excellent education.
CFL is an education program originally launched by Coca-Cola FEMSA in Mexico, which seeks to go beyond academics, equipping children with values roadmaps that can help them develop maturity, discipline, and the ability to cope with the challenges of growing up. The program was launched in the Philippines in 2014, and will be implemented nationwide this year.
Martinez sat down with Margarita Delgado, TFP co-founder, to discuss their experiences with education, and both of them quickly acknowledged the need for a holistic education that prizes values and morals as much as it does on traditional academics.
“When Teach for the Philippines started, we realized that our teachers could not teach academic lessons effectively in the classrooms, because the students were in dire need of basic life skills and behavioral management,” Delgado said. “Aside from focusing on teaching academic lessons, the development of life skills in our students is essential for them to become responsible and independent adults.”
“TFP partnered with Coca-Cola FEMSA to implement CFL because we strongly believe that the program can help build in our students the resilience they need to face and overcome the challenges of poverty, which impede them from attaining opportunities for success,” she continued.
“We found, with Teach for the Philippines, a perfect match with our initiative,” added Martinez. “This program is really good because Teach for the Philippines has the agenda of teaching kids, while our CFL program at Coca-Cola FEMSA provides tools to orient families about values, and about how they can grow as a family and help their kids. So we are sharing this journey with not only the community, but also with like-minded organizations.”
Coca-Cola FEMSA Philippines’ Invaluable Contribution to Gat Andres Elementary School in Taguig
Martinez’s trip to the Philippines also took him to Gat Andres Elementary School in Taguig City. The school is one of the primary beneficiaries of Fort Bonifacio Development Foundation’s Adopt A School Program.
In line with its philosophy of helping improve education by looking beyond academics, KOF-PH, whose office is based in Bonifacio Global City, immediately agreed to sponsor the construction of the school’s guidance office and clinic. Martinez visited the school to inspect the donated facilities, and to meet and interact with some of the teachers and students.
“KOF-PH has been a huge help to us,” said school principal Felix Alviar. “There really has been a huge improvement, thanks to the help of stakeholders and the Taguig local government. If you saw this place just a few years ago, it was just a lot of unused land. Now it’s much better.”
“The best part is, now that we have a clinic and a guidance office, the LGU has also assigned regular employees here. We have guidance counselors and dentists now, and soon, I think they’ll provide us with a dental chair,” said Alviar.
Martinez emphasized that all these initiatives by KOF-PH stem from a long history of creating what the company refers to as “social value.”
“The people who founded this company 126 years ago were big entrepreneurs,” said Martinez. “The company has faced a lot of difficulties in that time, with the Mexican Revolution in the early 19th century, and with the Great Depression in the United States. After the company fell down again, our founder thought of how to create something that goes beyond profits. He decided to focus on creating social value.”
“We are working to give our small part in a big journey to improve education,” said Martinez. “This is one of the major ways for us to help the Philippines.”