The rise of cooperatives in the labor-sector industry created a new kind of competition in the market. The Labor Service Cooperatives encountered more complexities in their operations due to poor preparation. With this, they took a different position to cope with their situation.
The Cooperative Development Authority in Region VIII, as the lead government agency for the promotion of sustained growth and development of cooperatives, and in coordination with the Human Service Cluster, held a face-to-face meeting with the officers of the labor service cooperatives in the region. A meaningful activity was held on the 18th day of April 2023 from 1:00 -4:00 pm and was participated by the Head of the Human Services Cluster, Assistant Secretary Myrla B. Paradillo, Executive Director Vergel Hilario of the Union of Legitimate Service Contracting Cooperatives (USLCC), five (5) various cooperatives engaging in labor services namely, PASAR Employees Multi-Purpose Cooperative (PEMC), LEYECO V Employees Multipurpose Cooperative (LEVEMCO), LIDE Employees Multipurpose Cooperative (LEDEVCO), Isabel Bay Multipurpose Cooperative (IBMPC), and Partners Multipurpose Cooperative (PMPC) and CDA Region VIII selected employees.
The purpose of the meeting was to help the labor service cooperatives address their existing challenges, including but not limited to the challenges in management, regulation, and taxation from the clients, within the cooperatives, and in competitions.
During the discussion, it has been found that the major concern of these cooperatives centers on their membership, officership, and how they engage in service contracting. For instance, IBMPC, a close type of cooperative, aired out their sentiments that it is very much impossible for them to accept membership aside from those employed by their company. Hence, they could not adhere to the rules on officership, which do not allow the employed to become officers of the cooperative. At the same time, the cooperative must also cease its deployment of labor services due to the regulations of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) which prohibits in-house cooperatives to engaging in service contracting. Another concern raised that was common to the five cooperatives pertains to the regular and associate members, wherein the cooperative refuses to accept associate members, fearing that the latter would outnumber the regular members, which may lead to disruption and an imbalance in terms of governance of the cooperative. The concern over the pooling of continuous Capital Build Up (CBU) was raised and clarified. PMPC, which houses members from a total of sixteen (16) associations in their area of operation, is having trouble collecting CBU to secure the cooperative operation. PMPC had a net loss in the previous years and is in the midst of its recovery. With the current minimal financial asset, the management is in a constant battle with how they would be able to sustain and finance the salaries of their labor force. Hence, the cooperative settled with discounted collectibles for them to come up with sufficient funds to cover salaries and wages. Aside from these, various issues and concerns were also given attention as the discussion proceeded.
The presence of Asec. Paradillo gave wisdom and hope to the cooperative leaders present during the meeting. The Head of the Cluster provided possible answers and solutions that the cooperative may adopt to put their respective cooperatives on the right track. She reminded the cooperatives that their practices must be improved and corrected at earliest to prevent future findings from other regulatory agencies that may have an adverse effect on the operation of their coops. She then proposed that a meeting, together with the Board of Directors of the involved cooperatives, being the policymakers of the cooperative, before the end of May 2023 to bring light to the current situation.
The activity was also graced by Mr. Vergel Hilario, Executive Director of the Union of Legitimate Service Contracting Cooperatives (USLCC). With his expertise, he was able to impart technical advisory services, share actual experiences, and circumstances relevant to the issues raised. He shed light on the importance of the labor services cooperative coming together in one union to create a bigger impact and manifest changes beneficial to the sector. He also shared the cause of his organization, and the advantages of joining a union and is considering to establish a satellite office in the region.
The CDA Region VIII t e a m , spearheaded by the Acting Regional Director Venus M. Jornales, facilitated the meeting, which garnered positive feedback from the participants and ended successfully at 4:00 p.m.