PALO, Leyte- The United States ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg led on October 20 the turnover of keys to small enterprenuers whose sari-sari stores were destroyed in the aftermath of supertyphoon Yolanda. Ambassador Goldberg turned over to 36 sari-sari stores from this town and Tacloban City that were reconstructed and restocked through the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Coca-Cola and Procter & Gamble. In his speech, Goldberg said that at least 1,000 stores in Typhoon Yolanda-affected areas will be rehabilitated under this partnership.
Palo Mayor Remedios “Matin” Petilla in her speech during the event said that the reconstruction of the sari-sari stores in her town financed by USAID is a big help for the economic recovery of her town which greatly suffered after the onslaught of Yolanda last November 8, 2013.

She added that the beneficiaries will recover soonest with the help they received from USAID. Petilla said that there are 100 typhoon survivors sari-sari store owners in her town who are to benefit the project.
Meanwhile, during the event, Ambassador Goldberg, in his speech, also announced the establishment of the Micro Enterprise Disaster Assistance Fund for Resiliency or the MIDAS Fund in the amount of Php176 million (US$4 million).

The American ambassador said that the project which is implemented in partnership of USAID with the Philippine Business for Social Progress, is a credit facility that will enable eligible entrepreneurs from Yolanda-hit communities to borrow money to establish or expand their micro enterprises, Goldberg added. He also said that through the USAID Rebuild Project, the U.S. government is working with the national government to restore access to education and health services, livelihood activities and provide technical assistance to the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery. (RESTITUTO A. CAYUBIT)