The Cordillera Administrative Region has thirty-six (36) large primary cooperatives sparsely distributed in the 5 provinces; and one chartered City. Add to these are three (3) millionaire secondary cooperatives (2 cooperative banks and 1 federation) classified under large category. Consolidated data from 2016 Audited Financial Statements indicated that about 3 billionaire and thirty-three (33) cooperatives with assets more than one hundred millionaire comprise the top 36 primary cooperatives in the region. Data shows that Baguio has the highest with 13 large cooperatives(with 1 billionaire); followed by Benguet, Ifugao and Mountain Province with six (6) large cooperatives each; Kalinga has four (4) large (with 1 billionaire) cooperatives and Abra one (1) large (billionaire) cooperative.
An analysis on submitted information based on CAPRIS data and Audited Financial Statements was conducted to determine the utilization of funds. The study focused on use of statutory funds specifically Cooperative Education and Training Fund-Local (CETF-Local); Optional Fund and Community Development Fund. The use of Reserve Fund was excluded from the analysis considering its nature as a restricted fund that it can only be used to cover operational losses.
Consolidated data as of December 31, 2016 of the 36 large cooperatives indicated that total ending balances of CETF, Community Development Fund and Optional Fund is about P 286,066,965.21. Optional Fund had the highest at P 198.59 million followed by Community Development Fund P 53.42 and Education and Training Fund at 34.06. In terms of utilization of the three statutory education and training fund was most utilized at P 15.24 followed by Community Development Fund at P 10.47 and Optional Fund at 4.01 respectively.
Based on the generated data from 36 large cooperatives, bulk of the CETF-Local was used for officer, members, and staff trainings/seminars; cooperative month celebration; Operation Tuli for minors aged 7-16; budget and planning; ownership meetings; attendance to secondary general assembly meetings; inter-cooperative sports festival; strategic planning and other orientation seminars related to capability building. About 324 activities were implemented in 2016 that involved about 21,284 individuals. Amount used was about P 15.24 million. Total ending balances of CETF-Local as of December 31, 2016 of the 36 cooperatives was about P 38.46 million.
Consolidated data on Optional Fund of the 36 indicated an ending balance as of December 31, 2016 is P 235.88 million. Use of Optional Fund was more on building construction and improvement; followed by procurement of vehicles; medical and dental assistance; donations; advertisement expenses; tree planting; monetization of leaves; general assembly tokens/give-aways; external audit; mortuary/Saint Peter Plans; sports activities; Christmas Party gifts/expenses; and scholarship grants. About P 4,011,363.86 out of the P 198.51 million ending balance of the consolidated Optional Fund of the 36 large cooperatives of CAR.
Based on the generated data from 36 large cooperatives, bulk of the CDF was used as donations to foundations, church and other community organizations followed by medical assistance; tree planting; scholarship grants; planning; outreach programs; mortuary and calamity assistance (including fire); donations to foundations; donations for school buildings and improvement; farm input subsidy; health assistance; trainings for family and values formation; job fair; assistance to children, elderly and persons with special needs; fun run, Zumba for a cause; battle of the bands; church construction; brigade eskwela; cooperative month celebration; aid to provincial athletic meets; adopt a community program; feeding program, etc.. About 147 activities were implemented in 2016 that benefitted about 13,882 individuals excluding those members of institutions that received financial assistance. Amount used was about P 10.47 million. Total ending balances of CDF as of December 31, 2016 of the 36 cooperatives was about P 61.87 million.
In general, education and training fund-local was the most utilized statutory fund at around 44.73% of the total beginning balances of the 36 large cooperatives. This was followed by community development fund at 19.59% and optional fund at 2.02% respectively. A total of 520 multifarious activities was conducted that involved and benefitted about 35,166 individuals excluding those residents and members of organizations that received grants and donations from the different cooperatives.
These performances of 36 large cooperatives greatly contributed to the members and communities they serve that manifest the significance of civil society orgnizations in socio-economic development. The greater challenge is for some of these cooperatives to fully disclose and document the use of their accumulated statutory funds as proofs of their contribution to national development. On the other hand, government agencies must recognize such initiatives of the private sector in bringing multifarious activities to the people at no cost to the government. It is high time that tax exemption of cooperatives be sustained by regulatory agencies to ensure continuum of the current trends occurring in the country. The potentials of cooperatives in bringing change can further be enhanced if all the registered cooperatives allocate and use their statutory funds to improve the lives of its members and the community residents.