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Bayanihan 2 Mentions Co-ops 17x

Posted September 19, 2020

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President Rodrigo Duterte signed on September 11 the Bayanihan Act 2, which embodies the Government’s response to the Covid-19 Crisis on two fronts: 1) ensure the health of all Filipinos and 2) protect the economy.

In the economic front, the new law recognizes the role of cooperatives in the recovery process.  

It may be academic or trivial, but the law actually mentions the word “cooperative” seventeen times.

This is a result of vigilant and incessant lobbying in Congress and the Senate by COOP-NATCCO Partylist Representative Sabiniano Canama and Senator Miguel Zubiri.  Co-op sector leaders see this as a tacit recognition that co-operatives play a major role in the recovery economy – which is currently taking a beating.

Rep. Canama, however, is quick to point out that co-ops must not only be recipients of help, but givers of help as well.  “We want to make it clear to Government that co-ops are partners in nation-building.  Co-ops  only need assistance so they can help the economy,” he said at an online meeting with co-op leaders on September 17.  

Bayanihan 2 provides cash assistance to low-income households, overseas Filipinos (who have had to come back home), and workers displaced by the pandemic – particularly those in the transport and tourism sector.

Co-op leaders are eyeing how co-ops can be conduits of this cash assistance.

Through the Small Business Corporation, Land Bank and the Development Bank of the Philippines, Government will provide low-interest loans and even cash assistance to small and medium enterprises and cooperatives.

Leaders are also proposing that cooperatives could also be conduits of the Government’s loan funds and re-lend it to members who operate small businesses.

Perhaps the provision that will have the largest impact on cooperatives is the order for financial institutions to grant a grace period of 60 days for loan payments.  

Section 3 uu directs all . . . financial institutions, public and private,  including the GSIS, the SSS, Pagibig . . . to implement a one-time 60-day grace period to be granted for the payment of all existing, current and outstanding loans falling due, or any part thereof, on or before December 31, including salary, personal, housing, commercial and amortizations, ,  without incurring interest on interests, penalties, fees, or other charges thereby extending the maturity of the said loans; Provided that all loans may be settled on staggered basis without interest on interests, penalties and other charges until December 31 or as may be agreed upon by the parties.  Provided further that nothing shall stop the parties from mutually agreeing for a grace period longer than sixty days.”

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