A Blessing to Others

By: Jeffrey D. Raya, CDS II

The San Isidro Sag-oban Multipurpose Cooperative (SISMPC), formerly known as San Isidro Farmers Cooperative (SIFAMCO) is located in Barangay San Isidro, Lianga, Surigao del Sur. The organization was founded by fifteen (15) persons  on January 28, 1996 in a far flung barangay of San Isidro with a beginning P50 thousand pesos share capital to start a consumer store. The organization was granted a certificate of registration as a cooperative by the Cooperative Development Authority  (CDA) on November 12, 1997.

“Life was hard back then”, one member of the cooperative narrated. The barangay at that time was “a no man’s land” where the residents were filled with fear and uncertainty due to armed conflict. That was  when the cooperative’s perseverance was tested. The impact of war to the business operation was inevitable as it caused the operation to stop. Consequently, a Dissolution Order from the Authority was issued. But surprisingly, the cooperative was able to rehabilitate, comply and resume its operation. The effort of the member to recover was based on their firm belief that after settling deficiencies with the Authority, the group could become a legitimate catalyst of change.

Fast forward to present. The spirit of volunteerism among members was clearly manifested. Members give credence to doing good for others and the community provided them a natural sense of accomplishment and it did not take long for blessings to arrive. “With the blessings and guidance of the Almighty Father”, a phrase coined from the word of the members, when donation and grants from different national line agencies and local government units have augmented  their efforts to help uplift the living condition of community members.

Presently, the cooperative operates a grocery store and a bakery which was granted to them by the Philippine Coconut Authority. It also has its own demo farm and engages in abaca production. Just recently, an Abaca Fiber Consolidation Building was turned over to the cooperative through the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) of the Department of Agriculture. By the end of 2021, the total asset of the cooperative is estimated to increase to P 4.9 million (noted, from a meager P50 thousand pesos beginning capital!).

The cooperative’s journey was never easy. Obstacles barricaded their “muddy, zigzagging way”. But what makes this cooperative different from the rest is that the members worked hard and persevered, not only for themselves. . . . this cooperative became truly a blessing, by being a blessing to others!