By Jun Defensor

“Sorry for being so vocal but pretty sure the coop leaders who have witnessed both events would agree with me that this Congress (Finance) is far better and more significant than the summits and tri-partite conferences…. cheers!”

                                                                                                         – Participant comment in Facebook –

There are three indicators to measure the success of an event. First, the number of participants should equal or exceed the expectations of the organizers. Second, is the importance and relevance of the topics and the authority and eloquence of the speakers in conveying the message. Both should be measured based on the inputs and feedback of the participants. Third, is the well management of the activity.

The Finance Cluster Congress held on April 17-18, 2015 at Tagaytay International Convention Center was a huge success. Spearheaded by the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA), in collaboration with the Philippine Cooperative Center (PCC), it addressed three challenging questions that define the roadmap for the finance group of cooperatives: Where are we now? What shall we do? and How do we get there? are the three (3) pounding questions answered by the congress.

Attended by 732 delegates, (438 from Luzon, 149 from Visayas, and 141 from Mindanao) from 215 cooperatives, the congress showcased vital information from the renowned speakers.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Deputy Governor Nestor A. Espenilla, Jr. talked on “The Big Data and the Role of Coops in Financial Inclusion”. In his speech, he praised cooperatives’ for strategic positioning to drive massive outreach, and its great potentials to provide effective, innovative financial services to members. He mentioned that based on the data processed by CDA and NATCCO, at least one cooperative (excluding the satellite and branches of cooperatives) with financial services is present in 1,172 out of 1,634 cities and municipalities in the Philippines. It is equivalent to 72% access points significant in the financial inclusion program of the government. He further emphasized that the pervasive presence of cooperatives in the countryside is a clear competitive advantage. It makes cooperatives ideal financial service access points for communities in hard to reach areas, especially those where no other financial service provider is present.

PCC Chair, Doris Canares presented first the scenario of cooperatives engaged in savings and credit operations, followed by the processed data provided by CDA and the identified problems, issues and concerns of the finance cluster group. According to her, the inputs was based on the survey farmed-out by the organizers and from the workshops conducted to the Technical Working Group (TWG) of the Finance Cluster from the PCC, CDA and other government agencies, and big federations and primary cooperatives’ nationwide.

Jaime Gatchirotena, President of the Credit Information Corporation, informed the participants on the very objectives and purposes of RA 9510, also known as the Credit Information and System Act (CISA). Ms. Betta Socorro S. Solera, CEO of the Philippine Cooperative Central Fund (PCF), and Hon. Eulogio T. Castillo, Administrator of the CDA, served as the reactors of Pres. Gatchitorena.

Mr. Vitaliano N. Naniagas II, President and CEO of CODIS Federation of Cooperatives shared the objectives of CODIS. Among the important objectives he mentioned are to develop coopsustainability standards of good governance and sound management practices; to evaluate and validate member-cooperatives’ performance using the coop sustainability standards; to provide technical and management advisory services to member- cooperatives; and to monitor sustainability of member-coops through evaluation and validation. He also shared the PESOS Plus framework covering the quantitative and qualitative indicators of evaluation. Hon Cristina Q. Orbeta, President of the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation inputted vital reactions to the presentation. Significant point suggested by Pres. Orbeta was the possible lobbying of the sector to create an enabling law on deposit insurance for cooperatives to push for the mandatory membership.

The Director of the Institutional Development Department (IDD) of the CDA, Fe D. Caingles, shared the salient provisions amended in Rule 7 and 8 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 9520 which was ratified and approved last March 18, 2015 by the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on Cooperatives (JCOCC). The reduction of mandatory trainings to be undertaken by cooperatives and the mandatory reports to be submitted to the Authority rooted welcome reactions from Remia C. Salinas, CEO of the Visayas Cooperative Development Center (VICTO) and from Atty. Gloria G. Funtalan, Director from the Philippine Federation of Credit Cooperatives – National.

Hon. Ferdinand George A. Florendo, Deputy Commissioner for Financial Examination from the Insurance Commission presented the Microinsurance System in the Philippines. He discussed the demographics, industry profile, insurance market performance, players in MI development, and the challenges ahead in the MI industry. Mr. Fermin Gonzales, President and CEO of CLIMBS, and Mr. Isagani Daba, Executive Vice President and CEO of the CISP, both registered providers of insurance in the cooperative societies, served as the reactors of the presentation.

Ms. Sylvia Paraguya, CEO of NATCCO and Ms. Emma Dela Cerna, CEO of the PFCCO, both members of the Asian Confederation of Credit Unions (ACCU) elucidated the Benchmarking with Asian Cooperatives. The status and current development of cooperatives in Asia was jointly discussed by said speakers in the congress. Information shared includes the positioning of ACCU to Blueprint 2020 of the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) and the business solutions to achieve the dreamt quality of lives among the members of every cooperative.

Dr. Garibaldi O. Leonardo, Chairperson of San Dionisio Credit Cooperative, synthesized the speakers presentations through specific aspirations based on the problems, issues and concerns (PINCs) currently confronted by the finance cluster group.

In order to reach those goals and aspirations, the question of “How do we get there?” was presented by Ms. Elsie Remonte, General Manager of PCC, through her presentation of “12 Ways to Get There”.

CDA Chairman, Orlando R. Ravanera, responded to the “Call to Action” by synergizing the context of addressing the PINCs. He laid down the desired outcome from the government through the CDA, the cooperatives, other government financial instructions and other regulators. Regulation he said is important in maintaining high level of integrity in cooperative finance. He however stressed that the primordial purpose of cooperative finance is to mainstream the poor, those considered non-bankable by the banks, and other mainstream financial institutions.

Chairman Ravanera further pointed out that the CDA shall foster more solid partnership with the cooperatives in pushing the development mandate of the agency. It is only through this that the CDA and the cooperative sector can contribute substantially to poverty alleviation – the fundamental objective of inclusive economic growth.

The general framework of action focused on the three key players of the cooperative movement: government, civil society, and the cooperative and private business entity. Objectively, he explained that in globalized economy principally characterized by the ASEAN integration, the way forward is to adopt the three-folding strategy for sustainable development and inclusive growth.

The Finance Cluster Congress is indeed a huge success, not only in terms of numbers of participants who attended, but also in terms of topics relevance, speaker’s authority and eloquences, and the secretariat’s management of the activity….. indeed, a feat need to hurdle by other sectoral congresses.

To download the presentation, please follow the link below:

  1. Setting the Direction of the Inclusive Financial Cluster, by CDA Chairman Orlando R. Ravanera
  2. The Big Data and Role of Coops in Financial Inclusion, by Deputy Governor Nestor Espenilla, Jr., Bangko Snetral ng Pilipinas (BSP)
  3. Problems, Issues, Needs and Concerns @ Coops Perspective, by Doris Caners, by Doris Caners, Philippine Cooperative Center (PCC)
  4. Credit Information and System Act (CISA), by President Jaime Gatchitorena, Credit Insurance Corporation (CIC)
  5. Protecting Cooperative Members’ Deposit through a Deposit Guarantee System, by Pres. and CEO Vitaliano N. Naniagas II, CODIS Federation of Coops
  6. Amended Rule 7 and 8 of the IRR of RA 9520, by IDD Director Fe D. Caingles, Cooperative Development Authority (CDA)
  7. Microinsurance Program of the Government, by Deputy Commissioner Ferdinand George A. Florendo, Insurance Commission (IC)
  8. Benchmarking with Asia, by National Confederation of Cooperatives (NATCCO) CEO Sylvia Paraguya and Philippine Federation of Credit Cooperative –National (PFCCO-National) CEO Emma Dela Cerna
  9. Where Do We Want To Go?, by Chairperson Garibldi O. Leonardo, San Dionisio Credit Cooperative (SDCC)
  10. 12 Ways to Get There?, by CEO Elsie Remonte, Philippine Cooperative Center (PCC)
  11. Call For Action, by Chairman Orlando Ravanera, Cooperative Development Authority (CDA)

Other links for download:

  1. PCF’s reaction to CIC
  2. CISP’s reaction to IC
  3. PDIC’s reaction to CODIS
  4. Closing Remark by CDA ED Elevazo

Photo Gallery HERE