CDA finance cluster head, Assistant Secretary Vidal D. Villanueva III visited cooperatives in region 10 particularly those in Bukidnon and Cagayan de Oro City from January 18 to 22, 2021 as part of the CDA Board’s oversight function. The purpose of his visit was to solicit matters or issues that affect cooperatives engaged in financial services in aid of policy-making.
On January 18, the Assistant Secretary along with the CDA-10 Director Glenn S. Garcia, CDS-II and Designated Executive Assistant Teresita B. Wagas and CDS-II Mark Ga visited six (6) cooperatives in Lantapan, Bukidnon, namely: Bantuanon ARBA MPC, Block II Farmers MPC, Cooperatiba sa Pobreng Mag-uuma (COPOMA) MPC, Highland High Valued Organic Crops MPC (HIVAOC MPC), Lantapan Vegetables Farmers Marketing Cooperative and Poblacion, Lantapan MPC (POLANCO).
On January 19, Asec Villanueva also visited four (4) cooperatives in Cabanglasan, Bukidnon, namely: Cabanglasan RIC Marketing Cooperative, Grupo sa Gagmay’ng Mag-uuma sa Dalacutan MPC, Cabanglasan Agrarian Reform Cooperative and Paradise MPC.
Bukidnon Government Employees Multipurpose Cooperative (BUGEMCO) and Bukidnon Community Cooperative (BCC) were also visited on that day with the CDS’s assigned in the area, Ms. Anne Sulpot and Mr. Cris Lu Salem, respectively.
On January 20, Asec Villanueva together with Asec Myrla B. Paradillo visited three (3) cooperatives in Cagayan de Oro City, namely: First Community Cooperative (FICCO), Mindanao Alliance Self-help Societies-Southern Philippines Educational Cooperative Center (MASS-SPECC) and CLIMBS Life and General Insurance Cooperative.
On January 22, they visited Oro Integrated Cooperative which, according to Asec Villanueva, the most innovative and information technology advanced cooperative in Mindanao.
The CDA Officials were welcomed by some members of the Board, the CEO and some members of the top management team.
In his visit, Asec Villanueva expressed his gratitude to the cooperatives for welcoming them and for extending assistance and services to their cooperative members, front-liners and communities during the pandemic. Their vital role in complementing the government efforts in the implementation of “Bayanihan to Heal as one Act” was greatly appreciated.
As to the cooperatives’ existence amidst the pandemic crisis, Asec Villanueva was so thankful because they were able to cope and operate in spite of the government restrictions on travel, no face-to-face assemblies/meetings and limited time on business operation during the implementation of the community quarantine.
Matters/Issues raised by the visited cooperatives were the following:
- Salary standardization policy for employees of medium and large cooperatives;
- Conduct of referendum as an alternative to the conduct of general assembly;
- The issuance of non-speculative securities by cooperatives as an alternative source of financing pursuant to the principle of cooperation among cooperatives;
- Computation of Patronage Refund for credit services of cooperatives;
- Conduct of face-to-face General assembly, reaching of quorum for the GA which should follow the IATF guidelines, Conduct of Election physically;
- Problem in the application for a Certificate of Tax Exemption with the BIR especially on their requirement for the members Tax Identification Number (TIN);
- Query on Branching and Issuance of Checks by the cooperatives
- Establishment of cooperative deposit insurance system.
All of these were well-answered by Asec Villanueva, Asec Paradillo and Director Garcia. Asec Villanueva said that those matters that needs BOA’s approval or decision will be tackled in the next CDA Board of Directors meeting. Asec. Villanueva also promised to conduct consultations on the proposed policies raised.
The opinions, concerns and ideas of the different coop leaders of these cooperatives will be used in the policy formulation to improve the programs and services of the financial cluster.
He also encouraged the cooperatives to come up with a project proposal for possible assistance or funding.
Asec. Villanueva also informed the cooperatives on the newly-approved Memorandum Circular known as Goodwill Program for cooperative officers. He said that, based on this circular, the amount of benefit that a cooperative officer will receive shall be based on his/her length of service.
Meanwhile, Asec. Villanueva commended some of the best practices of cooperatives like posting of pictures inside a frame in the cooperative organizational structure which he hoped will be replicated by other cooperatives.
In closing, Asec. Villanueva encouraged the cooperatives to practice sound environmental protection like having a live plant in the office or in the boardroom and also practice waste management. (Teresita B. Wagas)