“Innovation is essential to business.”
This has always been the principle Alvin Montano, CHEERS President has gone by even when he helped establish the emergency medical training company in 2008.
CHEERS, which stands for Community Health Education Emergency Rescue Services, first conducted basic emergency life support training but later on offered advanced cardiovascular support and cardio-pulmonary resuscitation courses.
“These are internationally recognized courses, certified by the prestigious American Heart Association and the American Safety and Health Institute,” he added.
Unlike similar courses offered locally, the certifications earned through these trainings are recognized worldwide, and are valid for, not one, but two years. CHEERS’ Emergency Medical Technician course is certified by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
CHEERS goes beyond its advocacy by providing for a livelihood program to a community of Indigenous Peoples
CHEERS also offers Basic Occupational Safety and Healthy Training (BOSH) as well as Construction Occupational Safety and Health, which are all accredited by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
CHEERS’ advocacy has recently expanded. From “saving lives,” it has moved on to “nourishing lives.”
Partnering with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) which, through research developed a kind of flour from combining the nutritious elements of mung beans (munggo), moringa (malunggay), cassava and sweet potatoes (camote), CHEERS now has its newest baby – the Emergency Food Reserve or EFR.
“Tropika is not your typical flour. The raw materials are can be easily grown and the flour is far more nutritious than what we have been used to. At first, the DOST used this green flour for polvoron and chocolate bars. CHEERS and DOST partnership came up with other goods that are baked, like doughnuts, ensaymada, hopia and pan de sal,” Montano said.
Going a step further, Montano saw another innovative opportunity which would advance not only the CHEERS advocacy, but also provide a livelihood program for a community of Indigenous Peoples. In 2014, CHEERS purchased P10, 000 worth of root crops from a community of Aetas in Botolan, Zambales.
“It was around December and the Aetas were very happy that they had money to spend to begin a new year. It also encouraged them to plant more crops and it has been good ever since.” Montano said.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) got wind of the “green stuff” and has since included Tropika products in its programs in three locations so far, including Zamboanga. It has received very positive feedback. Tropika products are ideal for Food Relief Packages in the wake of disasters since they are organic, contain no preservatives and provides for much needed nutrients for the victims of calamities.
“But we are not done,” declared Montano. “We are going to build a manufacturing facility in Cavite to produce this green flour.”
CHEERS also continues to conduct seminars on food manufacturing to ensure safe and proper use of the product. It is mapping out crop harvests to mitigate shortages and is also tapping farmers’ organizations and cooperatives to plant the needed crops.
CHEERS also continues to conduct seminars on food manufacturing to ensure safe and proper use of the product. It is mapping out crop harvests to mitigate shortages and is also tapping farmers’ organizations and cooperatives to plant the needed crops. The initial Aeta community is about a hundred strong now and will continue to produce the raw materials – up to 100 kilos of cassava, monggo, malunggay and camote per week.
The Montanos, Alvin and his wife Sandy both came from a farming clan and saw their parents in this environment as they were growing up. The idea of being involved in farming, helping others while also earning a living, seemed like the perfect combination for them.
To aspiring entrepreneurs, he has this to say, “Persevere, keep on improving and maintaining a high standard of quality in your products. Keep innovating. Life is so precious. After doing what we can to save lives, we now further recognize its value, by nourishing it. Cheers!”
This story is part of a series of articles written by GO NEGOSYO writers being published by GoodNewsPilipinas.com as part of our support to Philippine businesses.