In a beautiful and unexploited town in the mid-part of Zamboanga del Norte emerged a cooperative owned and managed by the employees and officials of the Local Government of Siayan officially registered with Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) under the present name SIAYAN OFFICIALS AND EMPLOYEES MULTI-PURPOSE COOPERATIVE (SOEMPUCO). From its humble beginnings, SOEMPUCO was informally organized in 1992 by 25 employees and staff of the local government unit of Siayan with a small canteen with a capital contribution of PhP50.00 per member. With strong perseverance, good management, transparency and honesty, the cooperative grew to become the only bank-like institution in the municipality for almost fourteen (14) years. The road situation and the distance from its nearest urban center were the major considerations then.
On May 19, 1997, SOEMPUCO was registered with the CDA operating a consumer store then. It expanded its services to members in 2001 to savings and credit.
Today, SOEMPUCO is a tangible reflection of growth and development a loan-free cooperative operated by competent management staff thoroughly supervised by dedicated board of directors with the active participation of the general assembly a heritage handed down from the very start of its conception.
MEMBERSHIP, ASSETS, NET WORTH, CAPITALIZATION AND NET SURPLUS HIGHLIGHTS
In its 22 years of operation, SOEMPUCO membership significantly expanded from 25 to 520 regular and associate members to include not only MLGU employees and officials but also barangay officials, teachers, people’s organizations, farmers, children and other social sectors of the society. It is a female dominated cooperative having 61.92% women members and one third (1/3) of the total membership are of “Subanen” ascendancy, a major ethnic group of the municipality.
Despite being the poorest municipality in the country, where 97.5% or 10 out of 10 of its population are poor, SOEMPUCO dared to increase its authorized capital from PhP130,000.00 to PhP25 million by amending its Articles of Cooperation. This was achieved as SOEMPUCO consistently raised its capital build-up at an average pace of almost half a million pesos annually since fiscal year 2014 with a current members capital of PhP 5.63 million.
Through the benevolence of the local government of Siayan, SOEMPUCO was bequeathed with 236-square meter lot and later was able to construct its own building to situate the expansion of its credit and consumer business serving not only the officials and employees of the MLGU but also the entire municipality.
Apparent achievement measured through its financial record shows that SOEMPUCO had a total assets of 12.7 million, 7.0 million net worth and has P1.0 million pesos net surplus in 2014 from its credit and consumer operation. Its credit operation is averaging a total exposure of PhP 10.0 million yearly and represents 80% of the total assets at the end of fiscal year 2014. Despite this huge amount of exposure, both credit and consumer operation maintained a desirable collection rate with only 7.07% delinquency rate which is equivalent to PhP 643,568.06.
Aside from the member’s capital, savings and time deposits are also the lifeblood of the cooperative. Encouraged by the coop management through its Member Saver Program, SOEMPUCO had enticed 94.4% of its total membership to maintain a savings account deposit and fourteen (14) others are also time depositors with a total of PhP3.88 million.
SERVICES AND PROGRAMS OFFERED
On its way up, SOEMPUCO treasures and value its responsibility towards Siayan community not only on the services it offered but also extending community social services to the less privilege sector of the society. Already on its second year of implementation SOEMPUCO conducts barangay outreach program coined as “Children’s Welfare Assistance Program” every month of October as its way of celebrating the Cooperative Month. The children’s program highlights two (2) activities -- “Tsinelas Mo, Sagot Ko” and “Mass Feeding” for primary and elementary school children. Barangay Sayaw and Domogok were already served with a total of 187 and 497 children served, respectively.
STRONG PARTNERSHIP WITH LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND PEOPLE’S ORGANIZATION
Behind SOEMPUCO’s success is its strong partnership with the Municipal Local Government of Siayan who is passionate in its advocacy in cooperative movement as its pathway out of poverty changing people’s perspective and confidence in cooperative movement. The initiative of the LGU under the incumbency of the Honorable Mayor Flora L. Villarosa organized twenty two (22) Pangkabuhayan Centers, sixteen (16) of which are already registered cooperatives and carved a niche in SOEMPUCO’s growth and achievements. Together with SOEMPUCO a federation of all cooperatives in Siayan was formed strengthening trading ties and complementation of activities as the SOEMPUCO is officially the depository bank of all the Pangkabuhayan Centers, BAWASA, women groups with a total deposit of PhP884, 751.33. SOEMPUCO is one in the spirit of promoting the Subanen culture celebrating Araw ng Subanen annually, advocates environment preservation during tree planting activities and above all leads in promoting spiritual values among its members.
BEST PRACTICES OF SOEMPUCO
01. Members attitude on loan payment/repayment
- Continuous member education and joint committee mentoring on credit responsibility and maturity conducted every last week of october
- Has transformed members attitude towards credit maturity especially that loan collection is not adopting automatic salary deduction;
- Has maintained a very low percentage on loan delinquency at only 7.07% roughly php 643,000 out from the total loans released of Php 9 million;
02. Continuous monthly capital build-up
03. Distribution of goods to members during general assembly meeting
04. Granting of amnesty on penalties of loan receivables for a period 6 months effective january 1, 2015 to june 30, 2015
05. Minimal mark-up of goods for sale - resolution amending the mark-up price of selling prime commodities particularly rice and corn grits in the amount of php 100.00 per sack
06. High interest rates of savings and time deposits
07. Safety net – adoption of internal control
- Issuance of receipts in all transactions
- Daily remittance of collection from teller to treasurer to landbank
- Purchase audit before opening of merchandise stocks
- Use of cheque account
08. Membership/affiliation with other cooperatives
- Philippine federation of credit cooperative
- Zamboanga del norte cooperative bank (zncb)
09. Educational trip once every 2 years
10. Community social responsibility
- Child welfare program
- School children feeding activity
- “sagot ko, tsinelas mo”
11. Strong linkage with LGU and partners
- Support to Litolet pangkabuhayan consumer’s cooperative feeding activity
- Preservation and respect of culture – Araw ng Subanen
- Environmental protection through tree planting
- Participation in the founding anniversary of the Municipality of Siayan
- Christmas gift giving and meals for the general public
12. Contributions of SOEMPUCO which have impact to cooperative development in local, national and international level
13. Growth in the number of cooperatives operating in the municipality
- The success of SOEMPUCO had catalyzed the growth of seventeen (17) more active and operating cooperatives in the Municipality of Siayan with a very strong support from the MLGU making cooperative a pathway out of poverty through the municipal flagship program “Community Enterprise Development Program-Pangkabuhayan Centers”
- It renewed the interest of the people to become members of cooperatives
MAJOR AND RELEVANT ACCOMPLISHMENT WITH IMPACT IN COOPERATIVE DEVELOPMENT?
With the initial implementation and accomplishment of the “Gulayan sa Pangkabuhayan Center”, Japan Social Development Fund selected SOEMPUCO among the many micro-finance institutions (MFIS) as their partner despite the fact that SOEMPUCO is yet neophyte in micro-financing. JSDF – community driven enterprise focusing on corn production, marketing and trading initially deposited a total amount of Php 2.38 million project fund to benefit 1,208 farmers with 75 clusters. The partnership will ultimately expand SOEMPUCOs business operation to micro-financing and farm input trading.
SOEMPUCO takes pride to be part of the poverty reduction of Siayan as it is one of the prime actor in the economic upliftment of the municipality. Siayan was ranked number 1 as the poorest in 2003 and 2009 down to number 36 in 2012.
Supported the CDA in its advocacy for membership expansion. Intensive campaign of barangay officials to become a member of a local cooperative operating in the municipality rather than in any other cooperative outside the municipality which will saved them cost such as transportation expense and meals. SOEMPUCO provides fast and efficient service with a maximum of less than 2 days in availing loan.
Campaign for food security increasing livelihood opportunities as an alternative source of income through the “Gulayan sa Pangkabuhayan Center” a partnership with the local government of Siayan
- The activity intends to spur livelihood opportunities to farmer-member increasing their capacity to pay loans and increase their share capital and deposits to Soempuco
- Improve members capacity to engaged in commercial planting of vegetable using appropriate farming technology
Sustained operation for 22 years is the pride of SOEMPUCO and intends to continue further serving the people of Siayan touching their lives and making life better making them conscious that being poor is not a hindrance to success but rather an inspiration to become successful.