By: Gezzel B. Quiao, CDSII

Cooperative plays a vital role in the economy. According to some studies, for over 160 years, cooperatives have been an effective way for people to exert control over their economic livelihoods. But when the COVID 19 pandemic hits all over the world, the said “control” is no longer in the hands of the people. The consequences of the pandemic outbreak have hit various sectors of society in different ways. Famous and well-known brands companies declared bankruptcy and shut downs. Consumers on the other hand stay at home are deprived in their access to the outside world because of the current isolation protocols.

While some businesses are struggling, Cooperatives are still thriving and continue their activity while trying to beat the unforeseen enemy. They work hand in hand in extending help to their members, front liners and communities showing the spirit of cooperativism. Because of this pandemic, intervention of public laws and policies, national and local regulations have been strictly implemented. Due to these protocols, the business community are rendered limited and are having difficulties but cooperatives are creative enough to find ways to extend help and assistance to its members, front liners and community.

The following Courageous Cooperative Responded to Fight Covid at their Best:

•  7 Farmers Producers Cooperative provides seedlings, vegetables and other root crops to its members and to the less fortunate recipients of their neighboring barangays. (200 members and 1,200 families)

•  Holy Redeemer Lay for Progress Producers Cooperative (HELP Coop) distributed food packs and PPE’s for its members, front liners and the affected households in Brgy. Ong Yu when fire broke out. (200 beneficiaries)

• Department of Health Cooperative (DOHECO) donated medical supplies for the Senior Citizens of Brgy. JP Rizal. (667 beneficiaries)

•  DSWD Employees Multi- Purpose Cooperative of Caraga (DEMPCC) distributed food packs to the front liners of Incident Management Team of LGU Butuan. (386 front liners)

•  Citi Finance Credit donated food packs to the front liners. (150 beneficiaries)

This pandemic is profoundly affecting the lives of people, when jobs have stopped and families are put on financial pressures. Access to necessary products and services were limited and most of all, both mental and physical health are in the front row. However, despite of these evolving challenges brought by CORONA virus, the cooperatives still work together to continue its operations and move forward in achieving their goals for the benefit of its members and community. As the saying goes, “Life is not about letting the storm to pass, it is about learning how to dance even in the rain”.***GBQ