This year’s cooperative month theme “CO-OPERATIVES: The Catalyst of Change Through Poverty Eradication and Social Transformation” supports the 10 point agenda of the present administration. Cooperatives with its increasing membership and diversified business operations continually gain sustainable milestones that complement the change desired by PRRD and the cooperative sector as a whole.
For me, becoming a catalyst of change through poverty eradication and transformation is not an easy job. It is easier said than done and we must admit and live with that notion. I don’t say it cannot be attained. Also, I do not claim to be an expert in social development. My exposure with farmers associations and cooperatives for the past three decades allowed me to understand the true meaning of catalyst of change. It is my belief that we can speak of change when we have experienced it. Change can occur within us when we allow it. Social transformation begins when individuals agree to change themselves and act together towards a desired level of innovation that alters their condition or situation.
For a person to be a catalyst of change, becoming a promoter is a prerequisite. The need to “walk the talk” and absorb the required adjustments within and outside the environment creates a modified atmosphere. The person needs to admit that a conversion within the physical, psychological, cultural and spiritual aspects must occur. To accept and become a channel of innovation signals the start of transformation.
As a group, emotional maturity, harmonized objectives and collective decisions are necessary. The unified action leads to social transformation. If people love to shift from one situation to another, and continually enhance occurring changes then we can say there is possibility of change.
As cooperatives, the best way to become agents of social transformation is to start self-evaluation on how we value our organization. Let us ask the following questions that might help us understand the process of transformation. Do we have vision, mission, and goals? Are plans and programs with corresponding financial and non-financial resources, objective verifiable indicators, and timeframe prepared, monitored and evaluated periodically? Is there an organization structure, manual of policies, capable officers and management staff? Are all members informed on the different policies, plans and programs of the cooperative. If the answer is yes, then the group is ready to become agents of change and work for the growth of the cooperative.
It is not enough to have the above-mentioned documents that social transformation occurs. Ensuring the implementation that will redound to members’ satisfaction and improvement of the quality of life is the ultimate goal. Focusing on the change of status of people who are poor, oppressed, depressed and suffering is one consideration why cooperatives are formed.
Cooperatives as social change agents need to sustain cooperative operations with quality services at the same time incur profit to support its existence. When cooperatives work out for the upliftment of members’ status in the community thru delivery of quality services, it is to my belief that its role in poverty eradication is effective. Involvements of people from all walks of life who are members of cooperatives contribute to changes in the community. As cooperatives undertake various business enterprises that create jobs, offer livelihood opportunities, complement the government’s social and economic services, the true agents and champion of social transformation are the people themselves who believes that change for the better is attainable.
To our fellow cooperators, we need to harmonize our efforts to effect social transformation. For prospective members, join us in our advocacy that cooperatives play a vital role in growth and development. Know the successful cooperatives in your areas and attend their Pre-Membership Education Seminar. It is encouraged that we patronize cooperatives in our locality. In case of doubt, inquire from the CDA-CAR and from the respective Provincial /City Offices on status of cooperatives.
Congratulations to the municipal officials, employees, cooperative development council and different cooperatives of La Trinidad for sponsoring an Inter-Agency Forum last October 5,2016. The discussion on BIR issuance of Certificate of Tax Exemption was lively. To the BIR personnel, thank you for joining the group and we anticipate more queries from the cooperative sector. Also, the presentation of Councilor Horacio Ramos, Jr. on the proposed ordinance for the creation of a cooperative development office is a welcome development. To Mayor Romeo K. Salda, Sangguniang Bayan headed by Vice Mayor Joey Marrero, Cooperative Officer Orlando Pacya, Acting LTCDC Chair Thaddeus Bernardo and all officials and employees, we are proud of you.