We’re inspired by the life and work of our Ina — Tagalog term of respect for ‘mother’. Joji Pantoja is the CEO of Coffee For Peace, Inc. (CFP) and our Ina at PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI). The partnership between CFP and PBCI in advocating Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) principles and practices was once again affirmed last 30 March 2017 when Ina received an award from the President of the Philippines as one of the Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneurs 2017. The awarding ceremony happened at the Malacañang Palace. There were 26 women throughout the Philippines who received similar awards for their “capacity to be catalysts for change and progress.” Ina was one of the two in the ‘social business’ category.
According to the brochure published by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Entrepreneurship, this annual tradition aims to recognize women and their capacity to be catalysts for change and progress. The qualifications are:
- May or may not have come from humble beginnings;
- A Filipino who embodies the following traits: passionate, positive, and panalo (‘can do’) attitude;
- Must have an innovative business model (products/processes);
- Must show the ability to genuinely care for the community and stakeholders and must have the potential to share time and talent to help spread the entrepreneurship advocacy;
- Must be well-respected by their peers.
The statement in Ina’s Certificate of Recognition reflects the above qualifications:
“For engendering peace through the innovative use of coffee as source of livelihood, community-building and conflict reduction. Her unwavering commitment to improving the plight of farmers and establishing peacebuilding mechanisms in conflicted areas of Mindanao through her business Coffee for Peace has brought inclusive growth to the region.
The award is given to Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneurs who emulate the modern-day successful Filipina with an enterprising attitude, passion beyond measure, an innovative outlook on doing business, and heart for contributing to the inclusive growth of our nation.”