On December 9, 2020, the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) held a virtual Education, Advocacy & Union Cluster Consultation Forum, with the Theme: “Invest on Cooperative Knowledge Patiently, Advocate Cooperativism Passionately, Strengthen the Cooperative Movement” for Regions XI and XII. The activity was organized under the direction of the Oversight Head of the Education, Advocacy and Union Cluster, CDA Board Director ASec. Abdulsalam A. Guinomla. The purposes of the activity were to discuss the following topics: Opportunities of Education and Advocacy Cooperatives and Unions (EAU) in terms of promotion, management, strengthening and expansion and collaboration of all EAU for the development and advancement for the cooperatives’ benefits; CDA Memorandum Circulars (CDA MC) on Policy Guidelines governing the Allocation, Utilization and Remittance of the CETF (CDA MC 2019-08, as amended by MC 2020-01) and Guidelines governing the Registration and Operation of Cooperative Unions (CDA MC 2020-23).
The activity, held through the Zoom platform, was attended by around 250 participants, majority of which are officers of primary cooperatives and unions.
In the morning, Atty. Frederick Joe N. Robles, Attorney IV of the CDA Legal Division, discussed the opportunities of the Education and Advocacy Cooperatives and the Unions in different areas. He emphasized the importance of cooperative education in the country, thus the need for the existence of Unions that will educate and strengthen the cooperative movement in the country. He also brought up the idea of creating the cooperative’s own autonomous cooperative deposit insurance systems as mentioned in Article 62 of RA 9520. Lastly, Atty. Robles mentioned the importance of the presence of cooperatives as a Party-List Representative in the House of Representatives, to address cooperative issues and concerns.
Thereafter, Atty. Robles discussed the representation of the Education and Advocacy Cooperatives Cluster in the Regional Clustered Organization, Sectoral Apex Organization, and National Alliance of Cooperatives.
An Open Forum ensued, where various concerns were addressed by the speakers and panelists. With regard to the prohibition on unions having capital share contributions from its members, the CDA provided the following options for those with existing capital: 1.) enter into a deed of donation where the primary cooperative resolves to treat the capital contribution as donation; 2.) offset the capital with the supposed CETF to be remitted to the union; or 3.) Return the capital contribution.
In the afternoon, Atty. Robles discussed the salient provisions of CDA MC 2020-23, and Ms. Sally Trinañes, Supervising CDS of the Regulation Division, discussed CDA MC 2019-08, as amended by CDA MC 2020-01.
Thereafter, the existing Union participants, the Provincial Cooperative Union(PCU) of Davao, PCU of Compostela Valley, PCU of Davao del Sur, and the Cooperative Union of Davao City, were given the opportunity to promote their organization and encourage primary cooperatives to affiliate with them.
During the Open Forum, questions relating to the topics were clarified: the creation of a Memorandum of Agreement between the primary cooperative and union with regard to CETF remittance is mandatory; the discretion of cooperatives on the establishment of unions; the sanctions for primary cooperatives that failed to remit their CETF to the union/federation; the prohibition for primary cooperatives to charge to the “Due to Federation/Union” account training fees by a federation/union of which it is not a member; the mandatory remittance of CETF only when there is net surplus; the discretion of cooperatives to be affiliated with multiple unions, and the remittance of CETF specifically to unions/federations or CDA Accredited Training Providers, thereby excluding cooperative banks.