CDA Region IV-A EO

Wounded Soldiers’ Grateful for their Big Brother in the Koop Kapatid Program

Started only as a dream vision for the totally blind Founding Chairperson, Cpt. Jerome J. Jacuba PA and the Wounded Heroes member-owners of the Wounded Soldiers Agriculture Cooperative (WSAC), to have an organization that would secure their future and their families, the cooperative is now slowly moving towards the realization of that dream vision. Thanks to the support from various organizations, especially the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) with the implementation of its Koop Kapatid Program or the Big Brother Helping Small Brother Program.

To put this into perspective, WSAC as a cooperative organization provides assistance and support to wounded-in-action soldiers (active and retired) who have bravely served the country in protecting the freedom and security of Filipinos. As an agricultural cooperative, it aspires to develop an accessible farm for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), provide programs and initiatives aimed at improving the members’ quality of life, promote their rehabilitation, and ensure their successful reintegration into civilian society. Some of the key services the coop wanted to provide include skills and livelihood trainings, the provision of assistive/mobility devices, adaptive sports, transportation, financial dividends as member-owners of the cooperative, provide an accessible billeting facilities to be used for in-house training and as transient for disabled/wounded in action (WIA) soldiers and their dependents who come from various command posts and far-flung provinces and the institutionalization of CARE Program or the Comprehensive Adaptive Rehabilitation and Empowerment.

However, these gargantuan tasks seemed impossible at the beginning, considering the physical conditions of its Board of Directors and members. Thankfully, a lot of kind-hearted leaders from different government institutions, non-government organizations (NGOs) and cooperatives have answered the call and helped the WSAC through financial support, infrastructure, machinery, training support, and more. One of the notable cooperatives that have helped WSAC significantly is the Most Holy Rosary Multipurpose Cooperative (MHRMPC) which provided Php1.5 million through the CDA Region 4A Extension Office’s Koop Kapatid Program implementation.

In retrospect, WSAC started with nothing when it was established five years ago, in December 5, 2018. But now has stood on something solid, thanks to the collective support it received, like the 5-hectare land in Sitio Palico, Brgy. Bilaran, Nasugbu, Batangas through a 50-year usufruct agreement with the Department of National Defense and the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Mushroom Enterprise Development Project from the Department of Agriculture, led by Sec. William Dar and USec. Cheryl Marie “Cheng” Caballero, its Bureaus and Regional/Provincial/Municipal Offices, the Local Government Unit of Nasugbu, Batangas, Non-Government Organizations (NGOs), AFP Finance Center MPC, PAFCPIC and various cooperatives, and most importantly, the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA), who initiated the establishment of the WSAC Main Office Building and mini grocery through the Koop Kapatid Program or the Big Brother Helping Small Brother Cooperative Program.

            As the Big Brother cooperative, MHRMPC’s objectives and responsibilities, as stipulated on the signed Memorandum of Agreement between the CDA, MHRMPC and the WSAC are as follows: 1.) To serve as the Big Brother to the WSAC to ensure the implementation of the Project goal, objectives, activities and outputs/outcomes of the Project; 2.) To allocate funds and provide financial subsidies to the WSAC in the amount of One Million Five Hundred Thousand Pesos (P1,500,000.00), intended for the construction of an office building for WSAC; 3.) To continuously provide assistance for the sustainability, growth and development of Small Cooperative’s and ensure its scaling up from micro to small category; 4.) To report to the CDA through its Regional Office the activities conducted for the Small Cooperative; and 5.) To perform other functions as may be agreed upon by the parties towards the successful implementation of the Project.

            As a result, WSAC is confident that the cooperative will graduate from micro to small coop category in no time. As reflected in WSAC’s 2022 Audited Financial Statement, it has a total asset of Php9,121,829.00. That is from nothing to something. The generous assistance from MHRMPC through the CDA’s Koop Kapatid Program has made a significant impact to WSAC. Most importantly, MHRMPC’s financial assistance for the specific purpose of constructing WSAC’s office building in Nasugbu, Batangas had not only accomplished its objective but had also gone a long way. WSAC was able to establish and renovate its satellite office and canteen, put-up a water refilling station inside the Soldiers Mall in Camp Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo in Quezon City that is now serving its membership and the community inside the AFP Headquarters, and purchase a service vehicle that is being used for operation in the coop’s farm in Nasugbu, Batangas.

            The WSAC cannot express enough how grateful it is for the unwavering support it has received. The Board and Management believe that it is of paramount importance to prioritize the welfare of wounded soldiers and veterans with disabilities. And it could be done when the coop succeeds in its endeavors to be able to implement its core objective of implementing the CARE Program. The following are the reasons our wounded heroes really fight for the WSAC to succeed.

Honoring Sacrifice: Supporting the CARE program is a way to express gratitude and honor the sacrifices made by wounded soldiers and veterans. These individuals have served the country with dedication and bravery, often at great personal cost. By supporting the CARE Program, one is actively demonstrating his or her appreciation for their service and ensuring they receive the assistance they need to rebuild their lives.

Rehabilitation and Empowerment: CARE Program focuses on comprehensive rehabilitation and empowerment, addressing the physical, psychological, emotional, and social needs of wounded soldiers and veterans. By supporting the program, one is contributing to their recovery journey and helping them regain independence, rebuild their lives, and reintegrate into society with dignity.

Enhanced Quality of Life: Supports provided to wounded soldiers can directly contribute to their improved quality of life. The CARE Program aims to improve the quality of life for wounded soldiers and veterans through personalized treatment plans, the provision of assistive devices and adaptive technologies, skills/livelihood/entrepreneurial training, psychological support, and community engagement (sports and other social and community activities).

Economic Independence: Supporting the CARE Program helps wounded soldiers and veterans achieve economic independence. By providing skills and livelihood trainings and entrepreneurial opportunities, CARE enables wounded soldiers to secure stable income and reduce their reliance on external support systems. This not only benefits individuals personally but also contribute to their financial well-being and overall economic growth.

Social Integration: The CARE Program emphasizes social integration and community engagement. By participating in sports programs, recreational activities, and community events, individuals are given the opportunity to connect with others, combat isolation, and foster a sense of belonging. It can help create a supportive and inclusive environment that promotes social integration and reduces the stigma associated with disabilities.

Positive Impact on Families: The CARE Program recognizes the essential role of families and caregivers in the rehabilitation process. By supporting CARE, one can indirectly assist families by providing them with the necessary support services and caregiver training. This support enables families to better assist their loved ones in their recovery journey and creates a positive ripple effect within the broader support network.

National Defense Readiness: Supporting the CARE Program aligns with the broader goals of national defense readiness. By ensuring the well-being and successful reintegration of wounded soldiers and veterans, WSAC is strengthening our military forces. When individuals feel supported and empowered, they are more likely to contribute to society, pursue new opportunities, and become assets to their communities and the nation as a whole.

As the path has been paved for the coop, armed with knowledge and confidence and with God’s guidance and blessing, WSAC Board and Management believe that it can accelerate forward faster and soar high. As a way forward, WSAC is now dreaming big: to be able to provide the dignified life its members and their dependents deserve. In addition, WSAC management team is very optimistic to reach the cooperative’s vision that by 2028, a world model cooperative in providing Comprehensive Adaptive Rehabilitation and Empowerment (CARE) for disabled/wounded soldiers. 

As Chairman Jacuba said during the awarding of their certificate of registration five years ago, “Kung anu man ka dilim ang aking paningin, ganito din ka linaw ang aking pananaw sa kooperatibang ito” and as he always said, “our ability is stronger than our disability.” To God be all the glory.