It is undeniable that all business enterprises have been greatly affected by the COVID 19 Pandemic. Some suspended its operations due to the impossibility to continue because of health protocols and restrictions causing great losses and less inflow of revenues. However, there is one cooperative located in Initao, Misamis Oriental which continuously provided services to its members. As a multi-purpose cooperative engaged in lending, savings, and consumers, the Initao National Comprehensive High School Teachers and Employees Cooperative (INCHSTECO) remained strong and continued operating despite the challenges in its business operations.
Both the INCHSTECO Main Office located at INCHS Compound- Poblacion, Initao, Misamis Oriental and the CDO Satellite Office located at Velez St. Cagayan de Oro City have been continuing their primary services by releasing loans in various types among its members at minimal interest rate approved by DepEd Central Office for payroll deduction. All other types of loan are mainly secured and collateralized. Availment of these loan products were catered through online transactions while others have face-to-face transactions in the cooperative’s main office. The online transaction has been implemented as an initiative by the Board of Directors as an observance to the health protocol prioritizing the health and safety of the cooperative’s member-clients. INCHSTECO has the total annual loan release amounted to Thirteen Million Thirty-Four Thousand Pesos (P 13,034,450) despite the pandemic and GSIS GFAL Loan Buyout program which had reduced the coop’s loan portfolio for the CY 2020. However, it cannot be denied that the total loan release for the year was reduced due to the GSIS GFAL Program, and others have enough finances due to the 6-month moratorium.
Along with other lending institutions in the country, INCHSTECO is among the many which observed and follow the government’s mandate on the implementation of moratorium both the government and non-government agencies/institution due to the financial difficulties brought about by the pandemic starting March 2020. Many cooperators who have incurred loans were not deducted from the monthly payroll for six (6) months of 2020. INCHSTECO has received a DepEd Certificate for this compliance signed by the DepEd Secretary in the person of Leonor M. Briones and Undersecretary for Finance, Annalyn M. Sevilla.
As health risk mitigation and protection from COVID-19, INCHSTECO Board of Directors with the recommendation from their General Manager, Ms. Gracelyn P. Zate has applied and successfully enrolled additional online banking facility to reduce the frequency of face to face transactions with the bank personnel. Most of the remittances for PAG-IBIG, SSS, Philhealth, and Insurance companies have been transacted online such as the Electronic Payment System (EPS) and Internet Banking Facility (weaccess) of the LBP and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) Digital Banking Portal. Other transactions of the cooperative were done via remittance centers just to continue its services amidst the pandemic making it more accessible and maintaining the safety and protection among all members including the staff/personnel.
The INCHSTECO Board of Directors agreed to set up the protective shields in the main office mainly for the prevention of any possible transmission of the COVID-19 among its clients, employees, and officers whenever they conduct regular visits, check-up on coop’s operation, conduct meetings, and other business transactions made in the coop’s office.
As some other businesses failed during these trying times, the cooperative has, however thrived and continued to look for ways to improve its services. The cooperative has an approved PhilGEPS Platinum Membership of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Procurement Service. This is to strengthen its catering, reproduction, and educational supplies businesses as the cooperative continuously looking for additional opportunities so to speak of business expansion. All these for the benefit of the members to help one another as part of the socio-economic development by way of raising or augmenting income.
Being a medium sized cooperative (Medium Cooperatives have total assets between P15,000,001- 100 million), and remaining such despite the pandemic is a success in itself. There are so may business enterprises which suddenly shut down and never recovered and sadly some cooperatives have also suffered financially due to the effects of the pandemic, but INCHSTECO remained steadfast in its vision and mission to serve its member-owners despite the worldwide crisis. Adaptability, resilience, commitment, passion and cooperation are what makes INCHSTECO truly successful.