Potentials of Laboratory Cooperatives in CAR

World trends call for government of all nations to embrace financial inclusion. This call is geared towards addressing gaps that ensure sustainability of efforts in eradicating poverty especially in developing countries and allow every citizen to take part in nation-building. As cooperatives are into multifarious business operations the significance of engaging younger generations in the life of cooperatives is necessary. Harnessing the membership of minors can help sustain guardian cooperative operations when properly managed.

As cooperatives registered under RA 6938 and RA 9520 are encouraged to comply with the new provisions on membership of minors in cooperatives CDA Memorandum Circular Number 2015-03”Guidelines for the Creation, Organization, Supervision and Monitoring of Laboratory Cooperatives” provides us the needed information in the formation of this type of cooperative. This guideline aims to put into context the previously called “Kiddie Savers” and allow membership of minors in cooperatives. Let us have a quick review on some provisions of M.C. 2015-03. Section 6. Organization of Laboratory Cooperative. A cooperative may assist in the organization of a laboratory cooperative of fifteen (15) or more individuals who are minors, who may be students or out school minors, Filipino Citizens and are actually studying or residing within the nearest area of operation of the intended guardian cooperative.

Section 7. Purposes of Laboratory Cooperatives. A laboratory cooperative shall be organized for any or all of the following purposes: 1) To serve as a training ground for its members to prepare them for membership in regular cooperatives. 2) To teach the values of thrift and saving mobilization among its members. 3) To instill cooperative values, principles, financial discipline, business skills and leadership skills among its members.4) To promote and advocate Filipino social and cultural values, financial education, ecological awareness and sustainable development.

Section 8. Affiliation. A Laboratory Cooperative shall be affiliated with a duly registered cooperative, to be known as the Guardian Cooperative. A Laboratory Cooperative primarily composed of students from a particular school may affiliate with the school’s cooperative, if any, or select a cooperative of its choice within its area of operation. If the laboratory cooperative is composed primarily of out-of- school youth minors, it shall be affiliated with a cooperative of its own choice within or nearest its area of operation.

Further, about 8 primary millionaire and billionaire cooperatives based in CAR complied with the provisions of M.C. 2015-03 as of December 31, 2017. Based on the consolidated data the 8 primary cooperatives had about 20,233 laboratory members (8,916 male and 11,307 female). Topping the list of cooperatives with highest Lab Coop membership is the Abra Diocesan Teachers and Employees Multipurpose Cooperative (ADTEMPCO) Laboratory Cooperative (based in Bangued, Abra) with 16,299 members (7,159 male and 9,140 female) This was followed by Benguet State University MPC Laboratory Cooperative (based in La Trinidad, Benguet) with 3,585 members (1,613 male and 1,972 female).Other cooperatives in the list include Thanksgiving MPC Laboratory Cooperative (based in Tuba, Benguet) with 94 members (42 male and 52 female); Treasure Link Cooperative Society Laboratory Cooperative (Sagada, Mountain Province) with 86 members (44 male and 42 female); Taloy Norte Farmers MPC Laboratory Cooperative (Baguio City) with 69 members (20 male and 49 female); Baguio Vegetable Retailers Savings and Credit Cooperative Laboratory Cooperative (Baguio City) with 49 members (21 male and 28 female); Topdac MPC Laboratory Cooperative (Atok, Benguet) with 24 members (11 male and 13 female); and Lamut Grassroots Savings and Development Cooperative Laboratory Cooperative (Lamut, Ifugao) with 17 members (6 male and 11 female).

In addition, the total contribution of the eight laboratory cooperatives in terms of savings and time deposit generation is pegged at P 53,431,029. Leading the group is the Benguet State University MPC Laboratory Cooperative with accumulated funds of P 37,761,818 (P 20 million time deposit and P 17,761,818 savings deposit) owned by 3,585 lab coop members. ADTEMPCO Laboratory Cooperative has P 14,513,987 accumulated savings; Thanksgiving MPC Laboratory Cooperative, P 990,538; BAVESCO Laboratory Cooperative, P 102,050; Tupac MPC Laboratory Cooperative, P 20,400; Tally Norte MPC Laboratory Cooperative, P 13,523; and LAGSADECO Laboratory Cooperative, P 12,250. Treasure Link Cooperative Society Lab Coop has no savings deposit but indicated a total share capital of minors in the amount of P 344,960 together with Thanksgiving MPC Lab Coop with P 581,457.

Ian Jeffrey Addatu in his article “Dep ED urge students for early enrolment” published in Sun Star on February 2, 2017 disclosed the number of students enrolled in public and private schools as gathered from Dep Ed CAR. Kinder had total enrollees of about 29,759; Grade 1 to 6 about 227,770; Grade 7 to 10, about 126,595; and Grade 11 to 12 about 25,640 respectively. Total number of enrollees from K to 12 in CAR is about 409,294 students both public and private.

Reflecting on the figures above provide us an idea on the potentials of minors to contribute to savings, time deposit and share capital of cooperatives. As can be gleaned from the data, the average contribution of each laboratory cooperative member is about P 2,687. If all the 409,294 minors are taught frugality, the problem of liquidity or sources of funds will not be a problem as the amount can reach more than a billion pesos.

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