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Cooperatives open National Cooperative Month

Posted October 01, 2020

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Since the Covid-19 Crisis began, cooperatives all over the country have been quietly at work in their communities. They have provided financial services, issued moratoriums on loan payments, distributed rice & vegetables, provide transport to health workers, opened food stores, distributed personal protective equipment to medical professionals, and more.

On October 1, more than 800 cooperative leaders met online for the opening ceremony of the National Cooperative Month with the theme “Cooperatives Amidst the Pandemic, Stand for Resiliency, Strive for Sustainability”.

According to Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) Chairperson Orlando Ravanera, there are 18,581 co-operatives nationwide.  These have combined individual membership of 11 million Filipinos – entrepreneurs, fisherfolk, farmers, market vendors, teachers, police & military personnel, health workers, government workers, women and youth.

Leading the celebration is the Philippine Cooperative Center, composed of some 30 national co-op federations.

PCC Chairperson Dr. Gary Leonardo says: “Being the “third force” in the socio-economic landscape that has vast growth potentials and a big role in reshaping Philippine society.  Co-ops just need to be recognized as a partner of government.”

Giving inspirational messages were Senator Miguel Zubiri, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Cooperatives, Rep. Sabiniano S. Canama of COOP-NATCCO Partylist and Chair of the House Committee on Cooperative Development, Rep. Rico Geron of AGAP Partylist.  The lawmakers promised to continue advancing the cooperative cause in the Legislature.

Highlight of the Opening Ceremony was the Declaration of the Opening of National Cooperative Month led by Ilocos co-op leader, Divina Quemi.  The leaders declared and vowed to conduct co-op business with the highest integrity and combine resources and energy to “advance the position of cooperatives” in sectors where they operate: utilities, credit & finance, insurance, agriculture, education, transport, health, housing, production & retailing. 

On October 5, the sector will celebrate National Government Agencies Day – urging twelve Government to strengthen ties with cooperatives.  The House of Representatives is also scheduled to issue a House Commendation to Cooperatives.  On this day, the sector will recognize the fast response of the CDA in granting regulatory relief for co-ops, issuing timely Memoranda to guide co-ops through the crisis, influencing National Government policies to help co-ops, and linking co-ops and government agencies to avail of existing programs.

October 10 is the “Day with the ICA”, in which officials of the International Cooperative Alliance based in Belgium will give inspirational messages.

On October 15 is International Credit Union Day, to be graced by officials of the World Council of Credit Unions and the Association of Asian Confederation of Credit Unions. Focus will be the digital economy, as cooperatives are already able to provide mobile transactions to members.

On October 17, the cooperatives will also recognize the International Day on the Eradication of Poverty. Fighting poverty is “in the DNA of all cooperatives,” having been formally established in the 1800s to counter the resulting poverty caused by the Industrial Revolution.

Highlight of the Month will be the “Day with the President” tentatively scheduled for October 20, when President Rodrigo Duterte will give an inspirational talk.

On October 26, “Online Market Day” will see the launching of an online website that will help co-ops market their products.

On October 31 the Cooperative Month concludes with a tribute to “Koop Bayanihan Efforts”.

All the activities will be online and expected to draw co-op leaders and members nationwide.

“With the rapid socio-economic shifts, the cooperative movement is leveling up the ‘can-do’ spirit. Everyone has taken that quantum leap to instill among its members a strong sense of cooperativism to the communities that they serve,” says Dr. Leonardo.

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