(1st of 2 parts)

  • Kim’s Dream
  • Orlando R. Ravanera

El pueblo unido jamas sera vencido! (The people united will never be defeated!). This was the shout of the multitude gathered in the streets of Paris 3 decades ago while helicopters were hovering above, an expression of the global unity expressed in different languages.  In 1991, It was my great honor and privilege to represent the Philippines together with known environmentalists, i.e. Junie Kalaw, Patty Araneta, Fr. Francis Lucas and Tony Quizon, in the historical trail-blazing World Environmental Summit entitled, The Roots of the Future, held in Paris, France.  About a thousand participants from different countries were in attendance. I remember then the lines, Vox Populi, Vox Dei (the voice of the people is the voice of God).  The message then was to stop global warming, stop sacrificing  Mother Earth and the people to the altar of greed and profit by a few oligarchs! Protect God’s vanishing creation or we will all perish as the Earth was already then facing its 6th extinction. And when the people are united, indeed, they will not be defeated – all for the love of Mother Earth.

That truism of the people’s oneness is now being exemplified by the 18,581 cooperatives throughout the land to combat COVID-19. Amidst the darkness of the corana virus pandemic, the spirit of compassion of the 11 million cooperative members shines through.

In the hinterlands of Bukidnon, the PLDT Employees Credit Cooperative did supply food and relief goods including medicine to the thousands of Indigenous People’s families worth P200,000.

The Philippine Army Finance Center Producers Integrated Cooperative (PAFCPIC) donated cash in the amount of P550,000 to assist the Philippine Army in the procurement of several units of paraPack Plus ventilators (models 300 and 310) to be utilized in transporting patients to the hospital under emergency as part of their COVID-19 operations. PAFCPIC also donated P50,000 to the indigenous peoples of Talakag in Bukidnon and the fund was used to purchase grocery packs.

In Antique, the BUGASONG MPC provided some P500,000 worth of assistance and the PATNONGON MPC donated rice,  home made face masks, biscuits, juice, bottled water to the community worth hundreds of thousands of pesos.  In the island of Camiguin, the Mambajao Multipurpose Cooperative distributed rice assistance to the members aside from extending loan relief by temporary suspending loan payments.  The ALKALEAD Multipurpose Cooperative of Maramag, Bukidnon gave vitamins to staff and the members and offered free delivery of the basic goods to the barangays.  While practicing social or physical distancing, the Mauswagon Community Multipurpose Cooperative of Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental distributed relief goods consisting of rice, grocery items, and meal allowance to members. The Iligan City Government Employees Multipurpose Cooperative of Iligan City, Lanao del Norte distributed 10 kilos of rice to all Trisikad drivers in the city.  The PN Roa Canitoan Transport Cooperative of Cagayan de Oro City immediately ensured social distancing among the passengers, and devised a way to observing the protocol.  The Xavier University Credit Cooperative of the Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan, Cagayan de Oro City donated alcohol, disinfectants, and thermal scanners to the Northern Mindanao Medical Center, the hospital in Cagayan de Oro with the quarantine and ICU facilities for covid patients.

As a response to the needs of different communities and sectors brought by the COVID-19 outbreak, ACDI MPC conducted CSR Activities across the country which included donations of the much needed protective gear and food packs to frontliners, as well as grocery items to different communities. Through these activities, ACDI aims to alleviate some of the problems currently faced by the country and to provide support to both members and non-members of the Cooperative during these trying times. The branches of the cooperative distributed fresh milk, food packs, grocery items and personal protective equipment (PPEs) which amounted to some P200,000.

Most Holy Rosary MPC also responded to the call of the times by purchasing rice and canned goods worth P4,000,000 and distributed the packed goods to 8,000 families in the community.

In Nueva Vizcaya, Tam-an Banaue MPC also did their share in this fight against COVID-19 by helping their members, the community and the frontliners. In coordination with the provincial government of Nueva Vizcaya, Tam-an BMPC initially distributed 1,500 bags of rice to several LGUs. They also distributed rice and vegetable packs to around 700 members of the coop and to the communities in their area of operation which in total, benefited some 12,580 members and non-members and amounted to at least P1,740,772.

These are just of the amazing stories manifesting the truest essence of cooperativism which is service, love and compassion. But the cooperatives are looking beyond the horizon. Together with the Cooperative Development Authority and the Task Group on Food Security, they are advancing the goals and framework on securing food and water.  They have also set their vision to decongest the cities through the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag-asa, to countervail against the pandemic. Indeed, “the people united will never be defeated!” (to continue)