Filipino seafarer Gary Esguerra and his wife Chique, receiving the P500,000 cash prize during the final round of this year’s OWWA-NRCO Business Plan Competition. 

A seafarer and his wife from Cainta, Rizal have bagged the much coveted P500,000 cash prize of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration-National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NCRO) and Integrated Seafarers of the Philippines (ISP), 2019 Business Plan Competition.

Active seafarer Gary Esguerra and his wife Chique, proponents of Greenfoot: Alternative to disposable slippers garnered the highest commendation from the three judges of the said competition, during the final round of the 2019 Business Plan Competition at the Hotel Jen last November 8, 2019.

While the second place was bagged by Berto’s Pickled Green Chili, conceptualized by seafarer Helbert Blanco and Andro Marvin Obed from General Santos City.

According to Esguerra, Greenfoot is biodegradable disposable footwear which is timely in saving Mother Nature by providing service establishments such as hoteliers with the best option to go green and go local.

“The biodegradable disposable footwear is our first, baby step in fulfilling this dream of helping save the environment. It is made of abaca bakbak, the outer layer of the abaca plant which is 100 percent natural and the katcha fabric, which is 100 percent cotton and biodegradable,” Esguerra said during his final defense of his product.

The said product was meticulously sewn and made to give each wearer the comfort and convenience that customers get from disposable slippers.

Over 70 participants were selected by the distinct panel of judges, which include Robert V. Espiritu, from De la Salle University; Ferdinand Alversado, VP and General Manager of At Home Realty and Property Management Corp.; Francisco Pax Lapid, the Managing Director of SPAC Information Technology Inc., and they have trimmed down the finalist to 10.

Other chosen business plans who received P50,000 cash prizes were Allee Chocolate from Cebu City; Social Entrepreneurship Empathy Dynamics (Iloilo City); Tiwayway’s Café and Resto (Batanes); Charmos Ginamos (Davao Del Sur); Dingdongs Peanut Sauce (Davao del Sur); Native Chicken Production from (Samar); and Snack House Pasalubong Center from Camarines Sur.

Present during the final round of this year’s Business Plan Competition were Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac; OWWA Deputy Administrator Margaux Esther “Mocha” Uson; ISP President Capt. Jesse Morales; and Labor and Employment Undersecretary Renato Ebarle.

For his part, Capt. Morales of the ISP thanked the OWWA-NRCO in its continued trust to ISP in molding and honing seafarer’s abilities to be the best entrepreneurs.

“Empowering seafarers through an effective reintegration program is a collective project, that we, along the OWWA and NRCO, should leave us a legacy to the Filipino people. Our experience in the ISP is telling us that our vision for a vibrant maritime Philippines is attainable, with God’s grace,” Capt. Morales said.

The NRCO-ISP Business Plan Competition is a special project for seafarers and their families by the National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO), in partnership with the Integrated Seafarers of the Philippines (ISP).

The NRCO-ISP Business Plan Competition is a yearly competition for seafarers with a primary objective to provide potential seafarers and their families intending to set-up their own business the help they may need to develop viable business plans and ideas and turn them into business solutions to real social problems in their hometown or community.

NRCO OIC-Director Roel B. Martin, meanwhile announced that they are mulling to include land based overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) next year and the contest will not be concentrated to seafarers alone.  (RAFFY AYENG)





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