A delegation from the CDA Region I Extension Office, led by Legal Section Chief Atty. Katherine F. Ellorin, accompanied by interns and law student practitioners from Lyceum-Northwestern University College of Law, paid a 2-day visit to the medium and large Cooperatives in Region I from December 4 to December 5, 2023.
The visit was intended to provide information about the cooperative’s best practices and management. Beyond operational insights, law student practitioners were interested in learning more about these cooperatives’ journey from their modest beginnings and how these cooperatives overcame the obstacles and problems they had in the early years of their existence to become an empowered and progressive cooperative today. The activity was also in line with the CDA Law Awareness Program (CLAP), wherein law student practitioners shall be immersed in the legal services of the Authority, providing legal consultation, while promoting access to, marginalized sectors particularly that of cooperatives and promoting alternative dispute mechanism to various cooperatives in the country, among others.
For its part, the CDA has been consistent in faithfully implementing a holistic framework for cooperative development. The first day of the visit was spent at the Integrated Small Fishpond and Lessees Multi-Purpose Cooperative and Teachers, Retirees, and Urban Employees Credit Cooperative. Then on the second day, the delegation went to the Lingayen Catholic Credit Cooperative and Calasiao Plant and Related Companies Employee’s Cooperative.
The said visits turned out to be more productive, engaging, and meaningful discussions with the coop leaders sharing stories of their successes and struggles. These extraordinary cooperatives, inspired by the assistance and guidance provided by the CDA, are now confident that their dreams and aspirations of being drawn into the mainstream of the development process and have an economic well-being and significant impact on its members and community. At the visits, when questioned about their successes and best practices, cooperative leaders and managers, stressed the importance of unity, good governance, effective leadership, loyalty, and steadfast dedication to the cooperative’s mission and vision. With the active participation of the members and the commitment of officers to provide better and quality services to their members, above and beyond all these, they all highlighted the importance of having one mind, one heart, and one goal. Most of these Cooperative’s success can attributed to effective leadership and good management of its leaders in managing the affairs of their cooperatives for they empower the community through their paradigm shift advocacies. The cooperative’s initiatives have always been pinned on the hope that members get the most benefit from the cooperative success to provide for the needs of its members and that they significantly contributed
to the betterment of the community as well.
The open forum evinced a lively atmosphere as law students were interested and determined to know and learn the best practices and management of these coops. The participants also shared their observations during the study visit as a great learning opportunity to have awareness of cooperatives and the next steps they would like to take in applying lessons learned is to practice and promote cooperative awareness. At the culmination of the activity, a short Orientation was held at the office of the Calasiao Plant and Related Companies Employee’s Cooperative. Truly, the participants appreciated most the beauty and importance of cooperatives that touch lives. Cooperatives change the way of life of their members. What makes it different from other business organizations is that it is not only profit-oriented, cooperatives focus more on how to serve its members best. It is unique because it has a heart for its members and the community as well. Most importantly, law student practitioners realized its critical role in raising cooperative awareness as something vital and serving as an instrument in building livable, sustainable, productive, and economically vibrant local communities through cooperatives.
Gerald Fontanoza, LSP, L-NU
Atty. Katherine F. Ellorin, Head, Legal Section