On a significant Friday, August 11, the Provincial Cooperative Development Office (PCDO) under the Government of the Province of Palawan proudly introduced KOOP-BATA, an innovative youth cooperative initiative, within the grand walls of the VJR Hall situated in the provincial capital.
Gina S. Socrates, a dedicated figure in the realm of provincial cooperative development, took the podium for her introductory remarks. She emphasized that KOOP-BATA wasn’t merely an isolated project but a visionary model that could be replicated across other municipalities within the province.
Making significant strides, both the San Vicente National High School (SVNHS) in the northern regions of Palawan and the Leonides S. Virata Memorial School (LSVMS) in Bataraza in the southern parts of the province have already embarked on the KOOP-BATA journey.
Socrates conveyed, “This platform will serve as a training ground, honing the skills and nurturing the potential of our young members. It is a stepping stone towards full-fledged cooperative membership, paving the way for them to become the torchbearers of cooperative leadership as our seasoned members transition.” Adding a personal touch to the proceedings, Governor Dennis Socrates shared his own childhood memories, reminiscing about a time when cooperatives weren’t as prominent. He expressed heartfelt appreciation for the opportunities now available to the youth, fostering a sense of gratitude for the present-day prospects.
Governor Dennis Socrates elaborated, “During the time of the Local Government Code of 1991, cooperatives weren’t even on the radar. It was only in the late 1990s, as I became more cognizant, that I recognized the vital role of cooperation.”
As the KOOP-BATA initiative unfolded, a pivotal Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was signed between the Provincial Government and the San Vicente Municipal Employees Multi-Purpose Cooperative, designated as the Guardian Cooperative of SVNHS. Similarly, an identical MOA was formalized with the Rio Tuba Multi-Purpose Cooperative, entrusted as the Guardian Cooperative of LSVMS. Notably, the Provincial Department of Education (DepEd) also played an active role in the MOA signing, demonstrating unequivocal support for this youth-centric program.
Stepping up to the challenge, Florily C. Abao, Chairperson of the San Vicente Municipal Employees Multi-Purpose Cooperative, highlighted the responsibility of the Guardian Cooperatives to serve as exemplary models.
Jan Sareno, Chairperson of the Rio Tuba Multi-Purpose Cooperative, drew attention to the preventative aspect of KOOP-BATA, serving as a shield against potential scams that might target the impressionable youth. Cooperative Development Specialist Ronel Pidor echoed these sentiments.
In a representative message, Board Member Nieves Rosento, Chairperson of the Committee on Cooperatives and Non-Government Organizations in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, heralded the day as a historic juncture for Palawan’s youth and its vibrant communities. She underscored the initiative’s capacity to educate the young about the value and advantages of cooperatives.
Dr. Arnaldo G. Ventura, the Assistant Schools Division Superintendent of the Provincial DepEd, implored the youth not to squander this promising commencement.
The KOOP-BATA launch drew the attendance of Municipal Cooperative Development Officers Flora Mandolado of San Vicente and Lorna Palasigue of Bataraza. Providing a wellspring of support and inspiration for the youth was Mrs. Socorro S. Tan, representing the Palawan Cooperative Union.