The heart wants what it wants… A saying that seems a low probability when an obstacle such as a worldwide pandemic is blocking the way. But Filipinos have proven their strength, resilience, and willingness to act upon their calling. After months of staying at home, the country started opening again and worked as usual and added efforts for proper health protocols to shield themselves from COVID-19. Suddenly, it is a new era no more, but…. A new normal.
The Cooperative Development Authority Regional Office 4Aembraced the new normal with ease. Not because it had a knack to adjust on just about anything, but because it refuses to be deterred by the challenges and always strive to rise above them all.
CALABARZON can be said to be one of the most affected regions when it comes to all trials our country had to face in 2020. The eruption of Taal Volcano greatly affected the Region, having Batangas, Cavite, and Laguna as the hardest-hit provinces. Soon after, typhoon after typhoon crossed CALABARZON, causing another throng of damages. And then, the pandemic.
The year 2020 seemed to stretch long and unfortunate events looked unending. But now that the year was over, and all that we can do is look back, the CDA Regional Office saw a maddening truth, yet appeared to be what we all have expected. There are still outputs served…. A beautiful and vast accomplishments.
Everyone may have felt vulnerable and scared with all the events that had happened in 2020, especially because of SARS Cov 2 Virus but with the CDA Region 4A personnel, an opportunity to serve is always first in mind. They thought of strategies to perform despite the limited movement and resources. And pathways of hope started to surface in so many directions, that even the cooperatives were inspired to move in one direction as well.
The Regional Office, just any other government agency, adjusted under the new normal as it delivered its accomplishments for the year 2020. On its first semestral targets, the Office was still able to perform although it suffered some unreached targets, especially the training to be conducted due to the enforced lockdown. And as it realized the differing needs because of the recently occurred natural calamities and the pandemic, the CDA recalibrated its targets for the remaining months of 2020. Its second semester targets promptly adjusted to the realities of the time, targets related to the pandemic, such as the Koop Bayanihan Program wherein the CDA CALABARZON also documented the cooperatives who have assisted their members, communities, and also Frontliners after the Taal Volcano eruption, during the pandemic, and Typhoons, showing that in times of great need, it is the cooperative principles of cooperation among cooperatives and concern for community that rises above.
Despite the restrictions of face-to-face activities, its regional personnel were able to conduct Fundamentals of Cooperative and Governance and Management Trainings both of which are CDA Mandatory Trainings for cooperative officers. It was also able to conduct Pre-Registration Seminars (PRS) to proposed cooperatives which are beneficiaries of National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) Under E.O. 70’s whole-of-the-nation approach and for beneficiaries of Balik Probinsya Program (BP2 Program).
Making sure that it would reach far and wide, it also embarked on online conduct of Fora/Seminars/Dialogues/Conferences, livestreaming via its Facebook Page, while its field personnel also worked with their corresponding provinces to assist on various online services. Thus, webinars, fora, round table discussions were conducted for the cooperatives of CALABARZON. Not forgetting an important aspect, such as Gender and Development, the Region was also able to monitor/coordinate/conduct eight (8) activities related to GAD. Even legal advisory services were conducted online so much so that cooperatives, particularly transport cooperatives benefitted from mediation conferences conducted to resolve internal disputes.
The compliance of cooperatives to regulations and directives for the year expectedly dwindled a little. In anticipation, extensions for submission and several technical assistances were conducted to know how those cooperatives are actually coping and find ways to assist in their compliance.
The year 2020 was definitely not all red and roses for the CDA Regional Office 4A, but under the leadership of Regional Director Salvador Valeroso, with Assistant RD Bernadette Preciosa Hornilla, Legal Officer Atty. August Owen Magdato, the Senior Supervisors of Field Personnel and Section Heads, together with the Provincial Cooperative Development Specialists, all the CDSs, and Administrative Staff, the RO stood up to the challenges and is even more impeccably ready to face 2021. (By: Ms. Jeramel B. Valdez, CDS II – Rizal Province)