City of San Jose del Monte, Bulacan, October 12, 2023 – In celebration of Cooperative Month, the 10th Kooplympics took place in San Jose City del Monte, Bulacan on October 12, 2023, with the theme “2023 Kooplympiada: Isang Dekadang Pagkakaisa at Saya”. This event was spearheaded by the Central Luzon Regional Cooperative Development Council (CLRDC) and for this year’s Kooplympics it was hosted by the Cooperative Development Authority – Region III Extension Office (CDA-RIII EO) in collaboration with the City Government of San Jose Del Monte as venue host of the event. This year marked a decade of celebrating the cooperative spirit and the pivotal role of cooperation in shaping a brighter future for region 3.
The Kooplympics, a highly anticipated annual gathering, serves as a platform for celebrating the values of camaraderie, unity, and partnership among cooperatives from the seven provinces and two highly urbanized cities of region 3, namely Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, Zambales, Angeles and Olongapo City. This grand assembly symbolizes the essence of cooperation among cooperatives and unites more than 2,000 participants. The event would not have been possible without the generous sponsorship of various primary and secondary cooperatives, Local Government Units, and private institutions.
The occasion commenced with a lively parade that brought together representatives from cooperatives across region 3. The Yakal Road of San Jose City del Monte came alive as the crowd gathered along the parade route, waving banners and tarpaulins while proudly displaying their official colors. Cooperative members enthusiastically marched, symbolizing solidarity, while the grand parade accentuated the cooperative spirit that binds the seven provinces. Following the parade, the event was officially inaugurated with the lighting of the torch, led by the CDA Regional Director, Marieta P. Hwang. After this symbolic gesture, each province proceeded to their designated areas in the CSJDM Sports Complex.
On the other hand, a trade fair featured various cooperatives, enterprises, institutions and sponsors displaying their products and services, including an agri-bazaar as part of the agri-cluster activity. This platform allowed cooperatives to showcase their contributions to the local economy and promote their products to a wider audience. To support exhibitor sales, CLRDC allocated funds for a raffle with trade fair cash certificates as the coveted prize.
The official program began with a doxology, followed by the singing of the national anthem and a cooperative pledge led by Mr. Ferdinand P. Calma, President of the Liga ng mga Cooperative Development Officers sa Pilipinas Region 3 Chapter (LCDOP-R3). The event continued with an introduction of the participants.
Moreover, a heartfelt video message from the honored guest, Senator Robinhood Padilla, Vice Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Cooperatives was played, represented by Ms. Nadia Montenegro. Following this, Ms. Leilani N. Babista, Vice-chairperson of CLRCDC, delivered a warm welcome speech, expressing gratitude to the committees, cooperatives, and various agencies for making the event possible. She also conveyed her hopes for the happiness and joy that this activity would bring to all participants.
Also, an audiovisual presentation showcasing past Kooplympics events was shown, reminding attendees of the rich history and tradition of this cooperative celebration.
Furthermore, CDA Regional Director, Marieta P. Hwang, provided an insightful overview of Kooplympics. She emphasized that the event goes beyond mere competition and serves as a platform for showcasing social empowerment, cultural experiences, and traditions. She concluded by saying, “We aim to strengthen the unity among cooperatives. Let’s renew our commitment, learn from the past, embrace the present, and look forward to what lies ahead.”
Additionally, Hon. Arthur B. Robes, Mayor of San Jose City del Monte, Bulacan, extended a warm welcome to the participants in his address, emphasizing the city’s hospitality for such gatherings. His unwavering commitment to community and cooperative development shone through as he underscored the significance of events like the Kooplympics in promoting collaboration within the region.
Moreover, Atty. Jayric Amil, head of Provincial Cooperative and Enterprise Development Office- Bulacan, delivered a message highlighting Republic Act 11502, which declares the month of October as the National Cooperative Month. He extended his gratitude to all cooperatives for their significant contributions to the economy and their efforts in advancing progress.
Meanwhile, Senator Cynthia Villar provided a video message in which she emphasized various programs aimed at empowering cooperatives and highlighted the event’s goal of unifying all cooperatives for a more prosperous tomorrow.
The morning session concluded with an intermission performance by the CSJDM Sining Tanglawan Dancers.
On the second part of the event, Mr. John Louie F. Santiago, Municipal Cooperative Development Officer of Marilao, Bulacan, led the Oath of Sportsmanship, followed by the On-the-Spot (OTS) Wellness Dance Competition spearheaded by Mr. Brian John Mendoza, Cooperatives Development Specialist II of CDA RIII EO. The competition featured 20 members from each province, with each province performing to their chosen music. The crowd was treated to energetic performances, and the competition was judged and scored according to specific criteria.
This was followed by a series of games that not only provided an enjoyable experience for all participants but also garnered cheers from the audience.
Following these activities, the winners of the OTS Wellness Dance Competition and Games were announced. The province of Bataan emerged as the top performer in the OTS Wellness Dance Competition, securing the first place with a remarkable score of 96%. Bulacan came in second place with a score of 95%, while Pampanga secured the third position with a score of 90%. As for the games, Bataan was declared the champion, followed by Pampanga, and the province of Aurora took the third spot.
The Kooplympics concluded in a successful manner, marked by the ceremonial passing of the torch from Mr. Raul S. Encarnacion of CDA-RIII EO to Mr. Willy V. Avellaneda, Chairman of Aurora Provincial Cooperative Development Council, who will assume the role of the host for the upcoming 11th Kooplympics next year.
The 10th Kooplympics was a grand celebration of cooperation, marking a decade of fostering collaboration among cooperatives in region 3. It showcased the strength and spirit of cooperatives in contributing to the local economy and strengthening social bonds. The event reminded everyone of the power of working together for a brighter future and served as a testament to the significance of cooperative values in our society.
Prepared by: CINDY S. REYES, CDS II