Cooperative Development Specialist II’s are hard-working and full of energy to attain assigned tasks. It might also be proper to acknowledge that we as CDS IIs are not perfect as we are humans too. If ever we did something inimical to the interests of the cooperative sector without knowing it, we stand to be corrected. It is our aim that we serve the country with sincerity and dedication as we are part of the movement that advances socio-economic growth and development both in the urban and rural areas.
We might be ordinary employees yet we bravely cross mountains, valleys, gulley, and different water bodies with rampaging waters and falling debris especially during inclement weather. Life must go on to reach our destinations and perform our respective functions in partnership with our fellow stakeholders. The little contributions in bringing extension services to the different parts of the country bring joy to every CDA field officer and to family members that find community work as a fulfilling task. The smiles and warm greetings of cooperative members, staff and officers during inspection, examination, trainings and attendance to general assembly meetings douse the fatigue caused by hours of travel or hiking. As a matter of fact, CDS IIs don’t receive hazard pay. They are also deprived of the full payment or reimbursement of traveling expenses and per diems because of the limited budget granted to our agency. The good thing is we are happy with what we are doing as government employees. I recall one sharing of a fellow CDS II in Region IV during our Strategic Technical Course in Tagaytay. They deliberately opted not to process TEV Claim for almost 6 months due to some internal challenges. It took an external auditor from the ISO Certifying body to point out such findings that prompted concerned personnel to call the attention of CDS II to process their claims. Such instance shows organizational problems and how some people think that the work of a CDS II is an easy job. It is not our practice to complain or castigate fellow worker, we merely share our experiences so others may know it.
In addition, cooperatives as autonomous and independent institutions have diverse operations manned by skilled personnel from diverse background. Composed of professionals, entrepreneurs, farmers, fisher folks, workers, etc.; officers, staff and members of cooperatives sustain operations using various management concepts. These best practices possessed by cooperative leaders, staff and members can be harnessed to promote sustainable development. Some cooperative leaders are well-equipped with the needed skills that are at par with those in government service.
Cooperatives have something in common with the advocacies on federalism. In the practice of cooperatives, it advocates internal generation of funds to support operation. Other principles of cooperatives include democratic member control; member economic participation; autonomy and independence and concern for the community. Similarly, in the discussion on federalism, people of a certain state have the choice to put people in the right place in the government. This practice promotes the concept of democratic process. They ensure that all people will contribute to the decision-making process. The economy of the state relies on the participation of citizens in crafting laws and in optimizing use of resources for the state to survive. The essence of fostering unity and solidarity to attain development goals highlights one of the state activities as an independent and autonomous unit of government under federalism. Equally important is the need to legislate laws applicable to each state that considers cultural beliefs and aspirations. Similar to cooperative operations that has its own by-laws and set of policies.
In closing, I would like to believe that if we appreciate how cooperatives work, we can understand and draw similarities on how federalism works. Some of our politicians and leaders are working for autonomy, and we hope we can succeed. As we observe, the conceptualized division of the country into federal states is not yet final. Gaining autonomy prior to the enactment of federal law can put the Cordillera in the best position to advocate as a separate state when granted autonomy. So let us support our quest for autonomy in preparation to be a Federal State of the Cordillera? This is just an opinion and we will be glad to entertain your reactions.