(Part 2)

  • Kim’s Dream
  • Orlando R. Ravanera

In a world that is giving so much veneration to the profit motive and the denigration of values and spirituality continues without let-up, there is a new consciousness rising like the bursting of light amidst the dark. Indeed, when we passed by the dark leeway and pathway of the mind, we come at the core of our being.  In the core of our being is the principle, an intelligence that generates, organizes and dispenses the actions of the mind and body. In the core of our being is the love, kindness and compassion.

The cooperatives in this country have come to the core of their Being amidst the darkness brought about by the corona virus pandemic. That is a truism that is rooted in its raizon d’etre. When capitalism was being propelled by the capitalists to greater heights in Europe through industrial revolution in the 19th century, Rochdale Pioneers of cooperativism loomed in England to counter gross inequities and poverty. As globalization concentrated the wealth of the world to just one percent of the population, even bringing about the horrors of climate change and violent extremism, cooperativism became the alternative paradigm advocating sustainable development that frontlines social equity and ecological integrity.

Indeed, the Rochdale Pioneers are regarded as the prototype of the modern cooperative society who advocated for social justice and equity.  We must not lose sight of this truism: cooperativism is one to correct social and ecological wrongs as there are plethora of records of cooperatives that started as small grassroots organizations in Western Europe, North America and Japan bringing about people empowerment to rectify social flaws.

No less than our cooperative champion and hero, the late Sen. Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel bannered that in the 1987 Constitution, “to promote the viability and growth of cooperatives as instruments of social justice, equity and economic development,” in a highly skewed Philippine society controlled then by just 200 oligarchs and tycoons.

Yes, four out of five rural people are now migrating to the cities as farming has become economically non-viable. How do you decongest cities as the urban centers have become the refuge of poor people who are opting to become drivers, janitors and laborers so that they can free themselves and their families from hunger.

The cooperatives are trail-blazing the empowering path in the countryside through paradigm shift in agriculture – from conventional to sustainable agriculture. When the farmers will have control over the mode of production and marketing, then, farming will prosper and people will migrate back to the rural areas.

This is how the cooperatives are battling COVID-19. Yes, the cooperatives in every region of the country have continued their outpourings of assistance – providing food, medicine, personnel protective equipment to the frontliners, extending help and assistance, not only to their eleven million members but to their respective communities as well. We thank the Inter-Agency Task Force for allowing our cooperatives to continue their services on credit especially on providing water and food security. All told, hundreds of millions of pesos, thousands of bags of rice, bananas and vegetables have been distributed including thousands of tons of fish and shrimps to those in need. Yes, there are amazing stories to share how the cooperatives have shown love, kindness and compassion during these most trying times.

But the cooperatives are looking beyond the horizon. They believe that COVID-19 is a wake-up call.  Who is really the virus? Please ask GAIA (Mother Earth). Look what the homo sapiens have done to Her.  She is now facing Her 6th extinction. Feel Her pain.  We are now in the 20th year of the 21st century but we do not know whether we will reach the 22nd century which is only 80 years from now. Why? Because She has been sacrificed by humanity to the altar of greed and profit! The collective insanity of the homo sapiens that killed its own kind of more than one hundred million earthlings in the last one hundred years and now is killing GAIA.   That was how cruel man is.  Corona Virus has only killed some three hundred thousand human beings worldwide. So who is the Virus?