Latest report from CDA indicated that total assets of about 45 large and medium cooperatives based in La Trinidad and Baguio City is about Php 5.5 billion. I guess this amount can match the 2016 budget allocations of both local government units that is about Php 1.9 billion? In our last column, I proposed that cooperatives should start to pool their resources and engage in solid waste management especially in Baguio City and La Trinidad wherein local government units spend millions just to ensure trashes are hauled to other sanitary land fill areas outside the region. This brings us to the idea for cooperatives to plan and come up with programs supportive of socio-economic growth and development in partnership with government. Is this possible? Our answer is on the affirmative. After all, most of these cooperatives are liquid and looking for new programs as investment areas for the utilization of cash.
During the CDA Gawad Parangal Awarding Ceremony held last August 16, 2016 at the MOFAMCO mini-dome, Honorable Ferdinand B. Tubban, Mayor of Tabuk City joined his constituents in receiving the award of the Tabuk City Cooperative Office as awardee under the Component City Category of CAR. In his speech, he appreciated the contributions of cooperatives as partners in community development especially in his area of jurisdiction. He shared that Tabuk Multipurpose Cooperative (TAMPCO), the 2nd billionaire cooperative in CAR donated a truck to the Local Government Unit purposely to help in the solid waste management program of the City. I surmise the fund used in the procurement of the vehicle unit was part of the social fund of the cooperative that it shared to the community.
Another cooperative in Benguet, the La Trinidad Vegetable Trading Post MPC donated P 353,000.00 worth of fabricated steel road fence in 2014. We witnessed the turn-over ceremony wherein 120 pieces of steel road fence was received by the local government unit intended to replace the road barriers along the national road. Two years had passed and it is not yet implemented. We hope that Mayor Romeo K. Salda will help in ensuring the implementation of the project.
Cooperatives are required to come up with development plans (annual, medium and long-term) to be presented to the General Assembly for approval. As of this writing, there is no CDA prescribed template for such plans except that of the Social Audit Report wherein Vision, Mission and Goals are included in the report. To some large, medium and small cooperatives, they have designed their own development plans incorporating the required plans being monitored by CDA. Some of the plans include Annual Plan and Budget that needs to be approved by the General Assembly annually. Another is Social Development Plan wherein cooperative present its programs/activities especially on the utilization of it Community Development Fund. It may include activities related to use of Cooperative Education and Training Fund and Optional Fund.
Based on our observations, cooperatives upon registration should have prepared plans and programs to guide them in their operations. As entities that rely on the resources of individual members, it must be part of the Order of Business to be approved during Annual General Assembly. I noticed that those cooperatives that constantly craft and implement workable development plans have tremendously increased their resources. For cooperatives that failed or hesitate to plan, they lag behind and are overtaken by newly registered cooperatives that recognize the importance of planning.
As basis in coming up with plans, may I invite you to read the book “Management” by Koontz and Weihrich. The authors discussed the hierarchy of plans that include: purpose or mission; objectives; strategies; policies: major or minor; procedures; rules; programs: major, minor and supporting and budgets: numberized or dollarized programs. I am pretty sure that when you start reading it, you would like to finish it. Fellow cooperators, we need to learn from others for us to be able to plan. I then encourage every cooperative to invest in coming up with plans for them to implement. Let us tap the help of our local officials who might be waiting for some ideas or proposals from their constituents. It might not be an offense to ask or request for possible joint projects that can be undertaken to ease the burden at the same time promote growth and development in our region.
One area wherein cooperatives can invest using their pooled Community Development Fund is Solid Waste Management. It is not foreign to residents of Baguio City and La Trinidad that every year, issues on the high costs of garbage disposal are headlines of local newspapers. Under the public private partnership concept, it might be possible that cooperatives can help manage the garbage problems of La Trinidad and Baguio City. They can likewise venture into eco-tourism or city tours using their resources in procuring vehicles that can be used in the transport of local and foreign tourists. How I wish local government units appreciate the employment generation, volume of business generated, social and environmental contributions, spiritual and democratic principles adopted by various cooperatives. Maybe it is high time to sit down and come up with plans that will benefit the LGU and the cooperatives working in their respective areas. After all, cooperatives pay service fees and mayor’s permit annually and part of it is garbage fee? Any comments from our local chief executives and councilors?