Co-ops and Politics

The midterm election fever has just begun. You know it’s time when the air is abuzz with rumors and gossips about the exciting (and sometimes deadly but not in this corner of the country) world of politics. By force of habit though, I am curiously monitoring those personalities that have thrown their hat into the political ring to find out whom the cooperative can work with and those who can support with certainty the sector we are in. I was mulling about that when suddenly, I found out some similarities of politicians and the co-operatives.

My thoughts on these similarities was ignited when I saw these politicians get busy posting on social media their pictures while holding their respective certificates of candidacy. On the other hand, co-operatives are also busy celebrating left and right in various locations across the country an activity they call, Co-operative Month Celebration.

We all know that the campaign period is still months away but the politicians have already started making some noise. We begin to hear their names on TV and on the radio, in the coffee shops and from our neighbors. Lately, they became visible during seminars and other gatherings and even at our doorsteps. We cannot blame them because that has been a proven campaign strategy ever since. The co-ops likewise have become competitive and they too have to be innovative in campaigning for prospective members.

In order to recruit more members, most of these co-ops are aggressively widening their area of coverage through branching and enhancing their services to be attractive to potential members. Politicians likewise, are expanding their sphere of influence, resorting to every kind of fancy gimmicks in order to become more marketable. And just like any other endeavor, seeking for political office and recruiting more members entail good public relations, being down to earth and of course, creating a very catchy tagline for easier name recall.

Focusing the campaign in vote-rich areas should be in the rule book of every politician. Co-ops should also set their sights on the centers of trade and commerce while maintaining their strong presence in the countryside. They have to bear in mind however, that running for public office and recruiting members should not be for personal gain but for public service. Both politicians and the co-ops should never destroy the trust and confidence of the people they will eventually influence. Otherwise, their careers and aspirations will be short-lived.

By the way, here’s a quick look at some co-ops in CAR who have staggering number of members. Topping the list is Tabuk MPC with 29 thousand members; Abra Diocesan Teachers and Employees MPC with 28 thousand members; Benguet State University with 26 thousand and Baguio Benguet Community Credit Co-op with 23 thousand. Take note that all of these are billionaire co-ops. This means, one of the success factors in the growth of a co-operative is the increase of membership.

Before I end, I have to categorically declare that co-ops are non-partisan organizations and they are more concerned with community development in partnership with the local government units regardless of the result of the elections.

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