2016 is a productive year for cooperatives in the Cordillera Administrative Region. Series of activities conducted by local government units in partnership with CDA and cooperative stakeholders provided opportunities for cooperative members, officers and staff to interact and participate in the undertakings. For these, we recognize the efforts of some local government units that have shown support to cooperatives in various ways.
Let us start with the Province of Benguet being the host of this year’s Regional Cooperative Month Celebration held last October 27-28.2016. During his first term, Governor Nestor Fongwan institutionalized support to cooperatives through the designation of Cooperative Development Officer. This evolved into the creation of a plantilla position of Cooperative Development Officer (CDO) II and allocation of funds for training activities with the support of the Provincial Board that enacted ordinances. Up to the present, it is one of the Provinces in CAR that provides free training activities to cooperatives based in Benguet Province. This move had contributed to the growth and development of some cooperatives in the Province that were able to complete the mandatory trainings as required by CDA. At present, Ms. Julie Tabcao currently holds the CDO II item with the retirement of Ms. Lilia Koh last year.
Still in the Province of Benguet, former Mayor Edna C. Tabanda requested the creation of a Cooperative Development Specialist I plantilla position and provided funds thereof through the support of the Sangguniang Bayan. Based on latest reports, the municipal government through the initiative of Councilor Horacio Ramos Jr., Chairman on Committee of Cooperatives enacted an ordinance that institutionalizes the recognition system of top performing cooperatives in the valley. Another ordinance authored by the honorable councilor is the creation of a Cooperative Development Services Office that will help support financially and technically the different cooperatives in the municipality.
Moreover, Mr. Orlando Pacya spearheaded the conduct of Strengthening of Cooperatives, Gender and Development, Cooperative Updates and Compliance to Regulatory Regulations, Cooperative Forum, Strategic Planning, and 2nd La Trinidad Cooperative Congress in partnership with line agencies and other cooperative stakeholders. The local government also supported the recently concluded Regional Cooperative Month Celebration held at the Benguet Sports Center last October 27-28, 2016.
Likewise, the municipalities of Buguias, Kabayan, Tublay and Atok initiated activities through the efforts of the designated Municipal Cooperative Development Officers in partnership with the local government units and Municipal Cooperative Development Councils. In the case of Atok and La Trinidad, the municipal government units tapped CDA personnel to discuss on Cooperative Road Map, Business Opportunities, Professionalizing Cooperative Operations and Appreciation of Cooperative Reports. Benguet Province is noted for the presence of designated cooperative development officers in each municipality that boost cooperative advancement. How I wish all the municipalities will learn from the experience of La Trinidad having its full time cooperative officer.
In Baguio City, the presence of a designated Cooperative Development Officer helped in the conduct of trainings especially to micro and small cooperatives. In partnership with unions and federations based in the City, it hosted a City Cooperative Month Celebration for all cooperatives based in Baguio. We look forward that the City Government will emulate the initiatives of its neighboring town. After all, the City must be proud of having the leading billionaire and millionaire cooperatives in CAR.
In Kalinga, the Provincial Office for the Development of Cooperatives, and Tabuk City Cooperative Development Office spearheaded several activities for the capability building of cooperatives. Both offices were created with plantilla positions and allocated funds intended for cooperatives. Series of activities related to cooperatives were undertaken and some activities were incorporated in the annual Matagoan Festival. Home to the second billionaire cooperative in CAR, the Kalinga cooperative offices must exert effort to further improve the delivery of services to the different cooperatives. Reiteration on the compliance to social, legislative and regulatory requirements, formulation of long-term development programs and sustaining the gains are among the suggested activities for the province.
Also, Mountain Province has an existing Provincial Cooperative Offices with plantilla positions. It conducted Provincial Cooperative Month Celebration and series of training in partnership with the Mountain Province Cooperative Union. As of this writing, we heard that Abra has a newly appointed Provincial Cooperative Officer that replaced Ms. Josephine Flores who retired from the service. Ifugao and Apayao Provinces need to catch up in terms of designation and creation of cooperative plantilla positions. While series of activities had been undertaken in these provinces, there is a need to institutionalize development programs to help cooperatives. Ifugao has a federation but lacks provincial union or cooperative development council.
Similarly, Abra and Apayao have no functional federations, unions and development councils. Though Apayao has a provincial cooperative union, it had not been actively involved in spearheading cooperative affairs in the area. It is a challenge on the part of the cooperative sector to request the institutionalization of development programs and appointment of full time cooperative officer to coordinate various activities to benefit the growing number of cooperatives in Apayao.
Finally, I salute all local government units and stakeholders that support the declared policy of the State to foster the creation and growth of cooperatives as practical vehicles for promoting self-reliance and harnessing people power towards attainment of economic development and social justice.” Truly, you have live up to the expectations of your constituents. Matago tago tako am-in.