The Goodyear Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative is an Agrarian Reform Cooperative located at Goodyear, Kabasalan, Zamboanga Sibugay. It is a rubber plantation-based cooperative organized sometime in 1992 and registered with the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) in the following year. Of its 1,016 hectares total land area, 998 hectares of which are devoted to agricultural production and are planted mainly with rubber trees.
Prior to the establishment of Goodyear Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative, the rubber plantation was owned by the Philippine Rubber Project Co. Inc., a subsidiary of Goodyear International Corporation based in Akron, Ohio, USA. The plantation was taken by the government through the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) on the basis of Voluntary Offer to Sell (VOS) in 1992. The plantation was turned over to the 312 Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs).
Three (3) years before the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), there were already problems in the management itself one of which is the PRPC Management’s application of yield stimulation chemicals to the rubber trees as final exploitation to maximize production. In other words, before the land was turned over to DAR, the rubber trees were already senile and unproductive, thus needing replanting.
Hence, before DAR took over in the subject property, the former workers who later on became ARBs were confronted with the following problems:
i. The plantation needed massive replanting to replace the senile trees;
ii. The well-known Goodyear Rubber Technology was not documented and preserved for future use;
iii. The workers were only made to focus on their respective work assignments;
iv. There was no tangible proof that beyond retirement or separation, the workers will become part owners of the land they till;
v. There was no training available for the benefit of the workers to uplift their knowledge on rubber production, empowerment and democratic participation in governance;
vi. The workers were not able to protest against the discreet over exploitation on the rubber trees prior to their take over.
In the early 1990s, the DAR personnel together with the Land Reform Desk of the National Federation of Labor (formerly NFL Labor Union) started to visit the plantation to organize the workers in connection with CARP. At the start, more than 50% of the 312 workers were hesitant to register as CARP beneficiaries mainly because of the known failure of the previous agrarian reform projects. The other negative reason was the exclusion of the management personnel from being considered as among the prospective farmer-beneficiaries. But the trend was changed when the former management personnel were listed as qualified to become ARBs. As the registrants increased day by day, the Interim Officers of Goodyear Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative were elected.
Their constraints were however answered through the interventions made by DAR and other line agencies wherein trainings, seminars and other capacity-building services have been established to the ARBs/farmworkers. The DAR intervened through the introduction of the CARP in the area. The coverage was well documented and there came an assurance that the rubber plantation and the cooperative itself will be preserved for future use. Apart from that, the farmer-beneficiaries were assured that after or even before their retirement or separation, the land they till and cultivate will become their property as long as the amortization is fully paid before the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP).
On November 1, 1992, the first set of Board of Directors (BOD) of Goodyear Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative were elected in preparation for the takeover of PRPC plantation as the former management already gave notice to cease operations allegedly due to financial losses. Most of the management personnel of PRPC were among those selected as members of the BOD. The cooperative was then registered at CDA-Pagadian City on March 25, 1993 with Registration No. PAG-240-93.
To the surprise of many workers, the NFL personnel unceremoniously convinced them to delay the takeover because accordingly, they are not yet capable of managing the operation of the plantation by themselves. There was that aura of doubt and a question cropped up about the intention and sincerity of the NFL personnel as they left Goodyear Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative at the time when their support was needed most. In the early months when the going was so rough, the DAR, being the lead agency for CARP implementation, was tasked to save GOODYEAR AGRARIAN REFORM BENEFICIARIES MULTI-PURPOSE COOPERATIVE from their untimely abortion. For that action alone, Goodyear Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative wholeheartedly thanked DAR for saving their grace.
Early in 1994, a loan of 9 million pesos was granted to Goodyear Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative from the Countryside Financing Scheme of DAR-LBP. Another loan amounting to 1.2 million pesos was approved from the DAR- Direct Lending Financing Program. In 1997, the LBP in coordination with the DAR Credit Assistance Program under the Program Beneficiaries Development Window 2 granted a loan amounting to 30 million pesos to Goodyear Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative to support the beneficiaries in their replanting operations. Because of the fund assistance, the cooperative was able to replant the 367-hectare area out with rubber.
While waiting for the production period of the rubber which is usually six (6) years from the time of planting, the farmers innovated the intercropping which is typically done by way of planting gestating crops for their subsistence. In 2000, through the encouragement of the LBP, Goodyear Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative introduced additional service like the Members Savings Operation (MSO) to help those members who are in need by financial lending services with minimal interest. Goodyear Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative has also opened a commissary store to cater the basic goods needed by members and workers.
Everything was in smooth sailing until in 2006 and 2007 when Goodyear Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative failed to pay its financial obligation with LBP. It was then discovered that the cooperative was in a huge deficit status. During that time, the General Manager left his post and was at large. It was then learned that there was no proper reporting on the cash flow. As a result, the workers were not able to receive their salaries in a span of 1 year. It was one of the darkest moments of Goodyear Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative as it experienced hardships due to tremendous debts with the bank. However, the DAR remained positive and continued to aid the cooperative. In 2008, Goodyear Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative tried to make a remarkable decision by reorganizing its BOD and getting a new Manager. Learning from their previous mistakes the new management of the cooperative used the small capital that was left and continued operations. Luckily, the buying price of rubber during that time was at its highest at 120 per kilo which helped them pay its bank obligations bit by bit.
Through the continuous support and supervision of the DAR, DOLE, DA, CDA, FIDA, in cooperation with the LBP, Goodyear Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative was able to sustain, expand and improve their services up to the present. Aside from rubber, the cooperative is now also into Abaca, fish and rice productions. Presently, it has Capital Build-Up of 11 million pesos. Aside from providing services to its members and planning to extend the same services to non-ARBs, GOODYEAR AGRARIAN REFORM BENEFICIARIES MULTI-PURPOSE COOPERATIVE has also provided the following benefits and privileges to its members:
i. Free housing,
ii. Free construction materials (5 truckloads of sand & gravel, and 600 bft.lumber) and free labor services for retired ARB workers;
iii. Free Tooth extraction
iv. Free Level II potable water system;
v. Christmas bonus at the end of the year;
vi. Goodyear Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative as guarantor for the hospitalization of workers and their dependents at Pathfinder Hospital, Kabasalan, Zamboanga Sibugay;
vii. Free transport of seriously illed/injured patients to Zamboanga City;
viii. 15 days’ vacation leave and 15 days’ sick leave for workers;
ix. Donated 2 hectares for the site of the elementary school.
Today, Goodyear Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative is in the state of reaping the fruits of its sacrifices. On May 15, 2008, Goodyear Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative was awarded by DAR as the Regional Outstanding Small Farmers Organization for 2007-2008. Goodyear Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative was a recipient of an award given by the LBP as the Outstanding Agrarian Reform Cooperative in the 2012 Gawad sa Pinakatanging Kooperatiba (Gawad Pitak) and recently,GAWAD Pitak 4th placer awardee during the bank’s Anniversary held last August 2018 at PICC in Manila. LBP currently gave Goodyear Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative the credit limit from 50 million to 95 million pesos. Also, recognized by DAR’s Most Progressive Agrarian Reform Cooperative on June 2018 held in Quezon City and three time GAWAD Saka most outstanding organization recognized by DA from 2017-2019. The numerous awards it has received are notable and remarkable proof of its extraordinary and outstanding performance.
To sum it up, just like other organizations, Goodyear Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative has encountered difficulties before it became what it is now. However, through its sustained collaborative effort with DAR and other government agencies, Goodyear Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative was able to rise from its downfall. Aside from government interventions, one of the factors that lead to its survival is because of its innovations and initiatives. The said coop did not depend wholly on whatever assistance the government can extend to it. Instead, it introduces innovations which are beneficial not only for the internal operation of the cooperative but for the ARBs and their families as well. Notwithstanding the introduction of innovative changes in its daily operation as well as the initiatives it had instituted in addressing its problems, Goodyear Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative remained an organization which is considerate and mindful to the demands of the families of the ARBs and to the community as a whole without affecting the customs and culture of the place of its operation. Since its creation up to this date, Goodyear Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative’s operation and production is good enough that can stabilize and sustain ARBs basic needs, provide jobs even to non-members and contribute to the country’s economy. Goodyear Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative’s outstanding performance resulted to its guaranteed financial sustainability and profitability.
Today, the ARBs boast of a better and improved quality of life due to this numerous interventions. Families are now better off – with decent dwellings, privately-owned vehicles for work and family mobility, better- educated children, employment placements in various institutions and companies, good food on the table, family vacations and outings, these are the marked of a better life for Goodyear Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative’s members and their families.
Drawing on its hard-earned knowledge and experience, Goodyear Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative engages in learning and consciousness-strengthening programs which helps it overcome the many challenges. The approach promoted immediate and community-based responses to social and economic vulnerability with the services it provided to members and non-members. The job-creation activities of Goodyear Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative through the services it provided cannot be under rated as it improved the quality of life of poor households. Over-all, Goodyear Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative’s outstanding performance resulted to its guaranteed financial sustainability and profitability.
TO GOD BE ALL THE GLORY!