Realizing how Coca-Cola means more than refreshment in the countryside
April 18, 2016 – While water is obviously vital and essential, we urbanites admittedly see it as really just a commodity and a plainly basic one at that. But for villagers in the foothills of Mt. Kanlaon in the island of Negros, water is a promise of a better future for their children and communities.
Sitio Can-urong of Barangay Puso and Sitio Binalbagan of Barangay Masulog, and the village proper of Barangay Puso are located in the upland portions of La Castellana, Negros Occidental. The locals in these remote areas used to source potable water for their everyday use in springs in ravines a few kilometers away from their homes – a problem local government units and non-government organizations have failed to address for many years, according to residents. In some areas, skeletons of past projects that have failed to bring water to the upland communities are still visible; some of the projects have not been thoroughly thought of, while some have never been completed.
For the families in these communities, life with water flowing straight out of their taps is an almost unimaginable luxury. For most of them, the day starts before the break of dawn. School children are roused early to help in fetching water from lowland sources, in most cases a kilometer or two away, where they will also have to bathe.
In the village of Masulog, populated mainly by farmers, living necessities are as vague and uncertain as rain for their fields.
“Before, the absence of water, electricity, and paved roads were our biggest problems. We sought the help of the municipal government but all they gave us was a hose that worked only when water pressure was strong enough. It could not ensure a reliable flow. In a few months, the hose gave up. Our water tank is now home to a gecko instead of water,” David Legaspi, one of the village leaders, said in the local dialect.
But lives changed when the Agos Ram Pump was installed and made operational in their villages. To many, it was a sign of a greener, cleaner future for their children.
The Agos Ram Pump, which is a modified version of a 200-year old technology, allows for water to be raised to elevated areas without the need for electricity. The technology relies on the force of the water to propel itself into reservoirs, which in turn channels water to common tap stands near the cluster of houses.
What is rarely realized is that once water flows conveniently and continuously for a community, the benefits go deeper than meeting basic needs. Water buoys peoples’ spirits, lending them dignity and optimism. When communities are relieved of the effort for mere survival, they gain the time and energy for uplifting their own lives. Something as simple as water, allows people to be free to hope again. The pride and gratitude of the communities is palpable in the stories they tell.
“I always tell my children and their playmates that what we have now is something they should take care of and look after. Also, it is a beautiful gift for the future generations,” Legaspi added.
Coca-Cola Philippines, together with its partner, Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation, Inc. (AIDFI), has been providing Agos Ram Pumps as a means of accessing water for various upland communities around the country. The guiding principle of this initiative is that the same amount of water that Coca-Cola Philippines uses in making products, should be returned to the eco-system for the benefit of communities.
The Agos Ram Pump, a sustainable and efficient method of bringing water to upland communities, has been a program of Coca-Cola Philippines since 2011. Sitio Can-urong of Barangay Puso and Sitio Binalbagan of Barangay Masulog, and the village proper of Barangay Puso in Negros are among the 129 Agos sites around the country empowered and refreshed by Coca-Cola through its water sustainability projects. There are 118 Agos Ram Pumps and 11 rainwater harvesting and gravity installations that continue to change the lives of the communities. #
About The Coca-Cola Company
The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) is the world's largest beverage company, refreshing consumers with more than 500 sparkling and still brands and more than 3,800 beverage choices. Led by Coca-Cola, one of the world's most valuable and recognizable brands, our company’s portfolio features 20 billion-dollar brands, 18 of which are available in reduced-, low- or no-calorie options. Our billion-dollar brands include Diet Coke, Coca-Cola Zero, Fanta, Sprite, Dasani, vitaminwater, Powerade, Minute Maid, Simply, Del Valle, Georgia and Gold Peak. Through the world's largest beverage distribution system, we are the No. 1 provider of both sparkling and still beverages. More than 1.9 billion servings of our beverages are enjoyed by consumers in more than 200 countries each day. With an enduring commitment to building sustainable communities, our company is focused on initiatives that reduce our environmental footprint, create a safe, inclusive work environment for our associates, and enhance the economic development of the communities where we operate. Together with our bottling partners, we rank among the world's top 10 private employers with more than 700,000 system associates. For more information, visit Coca-Cola Journey at www.coca-colacompany.com, follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/CocaColaCo, visit our blog, Coca-Cola Unbottled, at www.coca-colablog.com or find us on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/company/the-coca-cola-company.