Co-op Bloc Solons Rally Congress to Support Co-ops

Delivered speeches in line with 2012 IYC Celebration

As the world celebrates the International Year of Cooperatives, the Cooperative Party-list Representatives delivered their respective privilege speeches in the house of the representatives on October 15, 2012 to advance their common advocacies for the development of the cooperative Sector and rally support from their colleagues in Congress. Here are the excerpts of their speeches:

Cooperative as Basis of Economic, Socio-cultural and Political Power

BUTIL Party-list Representative Agapito “Pits’ Guanlao talked about the history and growth of cooperatives in the Philippines as well as their contributions to national development as basis of economic, socio-cultural and political power. He enthused that together with other members representing cooperatives-based parties, they have “pushed for numerous important legislative measures, such as the bills strengthening the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC) and the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA), as well as made proper representations with the Executive Department to help develop the cooperative movement.” He then conveyed to his peers the success story of a co operative based in Nueva Ecija to prove that the success of the cooperative movement is a mandate of history.

Cooperatives Promoting Poverty Eradication and Social Cohesion

COOP NATCCO Party-list Representative Crisante “Cris” Paez spoke about the global impact of cooperatives especially in promoting poverty eradication and social cohesion, the essential core of cooperatives in people empowerment, the cooperative membership all over the world, and how cooperatives generate employment, contribute to food security, and improve a country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Rep. Paez urged the government to develop a strategy to help improve and develop the cooperative sector. He asked Congress to immediately pass House Bill No. 2354 which seeks to strengthen the CDA and thanked the Body for adopting House Resolution No. 1134 which aims to rehabilitate cooperative banks and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas for providing the strengthening program for cooperative banks. After expressing his opposition to the proposed National Electrification Administration (NEA) Act, Rep. Paez appealed to the chairpersons of the different House committees to start their deliberations on the measures filed by the cooperatives- based party-list groups.

After his speech, Siquijor Lone District Rep. Orlando B. Fua, thru interpelation, discussed with Rep. Paez the legal and policy framework governing the operations and regulation of Philippine cooperatives as well as the process by which electric cooperatives can be converted into ordinary cooperatives under the supervision of the CDA. He expressed his willingness to help out in the organization of its cooperatives in the Province of Siquijor.

Call for CDA and DOLE to Harmonize Guidelines Guidelines on Worker’s Cooperatives

ATING KOOP Party-list Representative Isidro Lico, on the other hand, tackled the growth and role of workers’ cooperatives in the nation’s socio-economic development and their main differences from conventional businesses. He also stressed the need for the CDA and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to harmonize their guidelines governing workers’ cooperatives and cited the request of such cooperatives for a congressional inquiry aimed at adopting rules and regulations in conformity with the objectives of the Philippine Cooperative Code and the cooperative movement’s various stakeholders.

Challenges to Electric Cooperatives

Representative Ponciano “Pons” D. Payuyo from Party-List APEC cited the challenges which electric cooperatives face, such as their inability to avail of all tax incentives that would translate to lower rates for their member-consumer-owners; their lack of access to loan condonation programs that would greatly improve their balance sheets and provide better access to loans and investments from banks and investors of their choice; the threat of hostile takeover and replacement; and the implicit quasi-ownership by the NEA of electric cooperatives which cause their backwardness, ineptness and system losses.

Rep. Payuyo made the following requests:

  1. for his colleagues to help assist their constituents and the consumers as they struggle to bring about a referendum in their cooperatives on the question of registration with the CDA;
  2. for the NEA not to work against the efforts to educate the consumers as to the true advantages of registering with the CDA; and
  3. for the DOE to exercise decisive leadership to see to it that the electric cooperatives are not eaten up by the oligarch families that dominate the electric industry.