Celebrated every 1st Saturday of July, the International Day of Cooperatives aims to increase awareness and promote the movement’s ideals of international solidarity, economic efficiency, equality, and world peace.
The Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) joined the worldwide celebration on Saturday, July 3, 2021, in a blended national event that was graced by no other than His Excellency, President Rodrigo Duterte. In his message, the President hoped that the challenges faced by the cooperative sector during the Covid-19 pandemic would serve as a reminder of the importance of working together towards empowerment and inclusive growth. He hoped that this occasion will “serve as a driving force towards ensuring a deep sense of social responsibility as cooperatives create more sustainable paths of progress for all”. The blended national event was participated in by at least 700 cooperative officers, members, and stakeholders via Zoom and CDA Philippines’ Facebook Page. The live streaming garnered almost 4,000 views.
The program, which was hosted by Mr. Edmund Acosido, PhD and CSF Department Director Atty. Mona Liza Juarez, started with the Welcome Remarks from CDA Board Member, Assistant Secretary Virgilio R. Lazaga, MD. He cited the struggles of people prior to the emergence of cooperativism, the birth of cooperativism in 1884 in Rochdale, England, and the necessity of having pro-God, pro-people, and pro-Government programs in our country in order to cope up with the basic needs like food, shelter, and livelihood, among others. He mentioned that helping our cooperatives penetrate the international market, particularly the agricultural cooperatives which are under his sector, is a way to address under-employment, unemployment, and consequently, alleviate poverty.
The event was also graced with the presence of Chairperson Sundeep Kumar Nayak, IAS of the Network for the Development of Agricultural Cooperatives (NEDAC). He expressed his gratitude for all the men and women of the cooperative sector who “laid down their lives in fighting the current pandemic”. He mentioned the 2019 international trade fair in New Delhi where thirty-five (35) coops from the Philippines participated and sold their products. He said that he looks forward to working with CDA and the Philippine cooperatives in a more engaged way to fulfill the objectives of solidarity.
Director Judith A. Hermanson, Ph.D. of the Research Group of US Overseas Cooperative Development Council (OCDC) extended her solidarity to CDA and the Philippine cooperative movement. She stated that “cooperatives represent a powerful force of equity and greater good. They demonstrate the power of collective combined with care and concern for community.”
Dr. Hermanson shared the outcome of OCDC’s research study, “What Difference Do Cooperative Make?”. She said, “The data in the Philippines shows that if you are a member of a cooperative, you are likely to have an overall better quality of life. This means being better off economically and having stronger social networks as compared to people who are not cooperative members”.
She expounded on the result of their study and the significant role of cooperatives, “As the world seeks to regain lost ground after the COVID-19 pandemic, my hope is that countries across the globe will understand the importance of cooperatives”.
Mr. Khalid Hassan, Director of the International Labour Organization (ILO) Country Office for the Philippines, said that they “recognize the importance of cooperatives in job creation, mobilization of resources, generation of investments, and over-all contribution to the economic and social development of the people.”
Mr. Hassan also shared the role of cooperatives worldwide in meeting the needs of the community during the pandemic, despite suffering in their business operations. He said that “cooperatives will be an important partner in ensuring a human-centered recovery. Cooperatives have been highlighted to strengthen the sector and help create decent jobs.”
The International Co-operative Alliance-Asia and the Pacific President Li Chunseng, sent his solidarity message, which was read by Assistant Secretary Abad L. Santos. In his message he said that, “The commitment CDA and all cooperatives in Philippines displays through collective efforts of pouring help in the form of manpower, financial support, equipment and numerous others, is one of the best motivating showcases of how the Cooperative Movement of Philippines contributes to help the country tide over the ramifications of the pandemic by their resilience and stability.”
He further stated that “with the values of cooperation and solidarity, cooperatives together will play an important role beyond the emergency phase and well into the medium and long term recovery in the affected economies.”
In the segment, “A Cooperative Story of Rebuilding Better Together with the Pandemic”, cooperatives were invited to share their experiences. The cooperatives were Teachers, Retirees and Urban Employees Credit Cooperative (TRUE COOP), represented by its Manager, Mr. Federico C. Rosario, from Region 1, and Lamac Multipurpose Cooperative (LMPC), represented by Mr. Kenn Tenebroso, from Region 7.
They presented their coops’ various programs and services. Their presentations highlighted the challenges they experienced during the height of the pandemic, and the adverse effects of the pandemic to their cooperatives, members, and communities.
TRUE COOP and Lamac MPC also presented innovations that their cooperatives embarked on to respond to the needs of their communities. In essence, by proving that no matter how small or large an organization can be, they can inspire others and encourage them to “pay it forward”, despite the trials that the pandemic has set for all of us.
Solidarity messages were also given by Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, DTI Sec. Ramon M. Lopez, Congressman Presley C. De Jesus, and Mayor Sara Duterte. They expressed their support to the Authority and the cooperative sector, particularly in their continuous assistance to the government in fighting against the pandemic. This recognition given by our government leaders will no doubt motivate the cooperatives to fully serve to the highest of their abilities.
Assistant Secretary and Acting Administrator Myrla B. Paradillo provided the Authority’s Response. She cited the survey conducted by CDA on the ordeals that cooperatives experienced, “these are just a few of the scenarios of glooming realities that we faced during the pandemic. However, cooperatives remained resilient to withstand the test of times.”
Asec. Paradillo said the programs of the government to counter the effects of the pandemic is a collective effort of the cooperative sector and the community. She articulated that the bayanihan spirit showcased how cooperatives emerged by exhibiting one of the principles of cooperatives, which is concern for the community. Aside from showing solidarity and resilience during this crisis, the cooperative have offered communities a people-centered and environmentally just way to recover. “Through our continued efforts, as one cohesive cooperative movement, we will rise”, Asec. Paradiilo stated.
Present also during the live event were Board Members Assistant Secretary Abdulsalam Guinomla, Assistant Secretary Pendatun Disimban, Assistant Secretary Vidal Villanueva III, CDA Regional Directors, and personnel nationwide.
To know more about the Authority, you may visit the website, www.cda.gov.ph. You may also like, follow and share the CDA Philippines’ Facebook Page, for more information.
To watch the recorded video of the International Day of Cooperatives, you may click the link: https://www.facebook.com/CDAphgov/videos/512386253212690. The presentations of TRUE COOP and Lamac MPC, may be downloaded through the CDA website. – (CMarders)