San Isidro Sag-oban MPC: What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger!

The story of the San Isidro Sag-oban Multipurpose Cooperative (SISMPC) is a remarkable example of resilience and determination in the face of adversity. Despite its challenging beginnings in a remote and underdeveloped barangay, the cooperative has grown and thrived over the years.

The San Isidro Sag-oban Multipurpose Cooperative (SISMPC) started as San Isidro Farmers Cooperative (SIFAMCO) on January 28, 1996, in the muddy, far-flung, and far-from modernized barangay called San Isidro in the municipality of Lianga in the province of Surigao del Sur. The organization was founded by fifteen (15) members with a beginning share capital of fifty thousand pesos (Php 50,000.00) to start a consumer store operation. Transporting goods was challenging back then due to very bad road conditions, nevertheless, bayahinan was evident among members. The organization was granted a certificate of registration as a cooperative by the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) on November 12, 1997, and amended its registration to San Isidro Sag-oban Multipurpose Cooperative (SISMPC) in 2010.

“Life was hard back then,” a member of the cooperative narrated. The barangay at that time was “a no man’s land” where the residents were filled with fear and uncertainty due to armed conflict which resulted in halting its store operation temporarily. No financial, technical or any other form of assistance came. That was when the cooperative’s perseverance was tested. Consequently, a Dissolution Order from the CDA was issued. However with perseverance and persistence, the cooperative was able to rehabilitate, comply, and resume its operation. The effort of the members to recover was based on their firm belief that after settling deficiencies with the Authority, the group could become a legitimate catalyst of change.

The spirit of volunteerism among members was manifested. Members give credence to doing good for others and the community provided them with a natural sense of accomplishment and it did not take long for blessings to arrive. “With the blessings and guidance of the Almighty Father” is a phrase coined from the word of the members, when donations and grants from different national line agencies and local government units have augmented their efforts to help uplift the living conditions of community members.

Several programs and projects came which further strengthened its drive to sustainable growth and development. These were:

  • Seminars in record keeping.
  • Recipient of Barangay Food Terminal Project.
  • Victory Demo Farm (established by the cooperative through earnings from the Barangay Food Terminal Project)
  • Bakery from Philippine Coconut Authority
  • Received 3,000 hills of Abaca Planting Seeds
  • Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) Abaca Fiber Consolidation Building

Presently, the cooperative operates a grocery store and a bakery as granted by the Philippine Coconut Authority. It also has its demo farm and engages in abaca production. In 2022, the Abaca Fiber Consolidation Building was turned over to the cooperative through the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) of the Department of Agriculture.

On December 28, 2023, another blessing came to the cooperative when they became the recipient of Two Hundred Fifty Pesos (PhP 250,000.00) financial grant from the COCOFARMCOOP program of the CDA through the Coconut Farmer and Industry Development Plan implementation. The said amount was used to start its copra and charcoal trading operation. By the end of 2022, the total assets of the cooperative increased to PhP 5,600,000.00 from a meager beginning capital of PhP 50,000.00. Consequently, the cooperative had graduated from a micro cooperative to a small cooperative.

It’s also heartwarming to see that SISMPC acknowledges the role of blessings and guidance from a higher power, as expressed in their gratitude to the Almighty Father. This recognition of divine guidance can be a source of strength and inspiration for the cooperative and its members as they continue their journey toward growth and development. Lastly, the appreciation extended to the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) demonstrates the cooperative’s recognition of the support and assistance they have received from external organizations. The cooperative showed gratitude and wanted to maintain a positive relationship  by showing their deepest gratitude to partners and authorities who contributed to their success.

Chairperson Ludovico C. Buaqueña Jr. and General Manager Miguel S. Dagangon, along with the entire cooperative, should be proud of their accomplishments and their commitment to making a positive impact on their community. Their story serves as an inspiration for those who want to achieve sustainable growth and development through hard work, perseverance, and a strong sense of community.

In summary, the San Isidro Sag-oban Multipurpose Cooperative’s journey is a story of resilience and community spirit. Despite facing numerous challenges, they have grown and diversified their operations, improving the lives of their members and contributing to the development of their community. Kelly Clarkson’s quote, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger,” aptly captures the cooperative’s determination to overcome adversity and emerge stronger. The spirit of volunteerism within the San Isidro Sag-oban Multipurpose Cooperative (SISMPC) is truly commendable. It reflects the dedication and commitment of its members toward maintaining a strong management system that ensures the sustainability of the cooperative. It indeed plays a crucial role in the cooperative’s success and its ability to serve its community effectively.