First coop summit held

Representatives of cooperatives in Baguio converged for the first time at city hall last week to thresh out concerns affecting their organizations’ operation.

Spearheaded by the office of Councilor Arthur Allad-iw as committee chair on Employment, Livelihood, Cooperatives and Persons with Disabilities, the summit was coordinated with the Special Services Division (SSD) under the city mayors’ office, Cooperative Development Authority (CDA), Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and other concerned offices.

Officers of small, micro, medium, large and barangay cooperatives agreed on problems commonly encountered and admitted their need for assistance from each other and other agencies.

Linkages and liaison officers are needed specially in transactions with government agencies, thus a cooperatives desk was suggested in government agencies, along with legal assistance. Financial assistance up to P20M could be availed of from banks, with stringent compliance of requirements, it was known.

The cooperative officers also requested for trainors’ training, at least semi-annual subsidized trainings for updates and information, as well as consultants on organizational management of their groups.
For starting barangay cooperatives, lectures in procedures is requested, as well as financial assistance to cover start-up capital. There is also a need to untangle complicated documents for submission, to which the CDA personnel promised assistance.

In turn, government agencies promised constant monitoring and inspection of the cooperatives, as these provide employment and revenues for permits and licenses acquired, and source of livelihood and business for the beneficiaries. Accreditation may be accorded to deserving cooperatives, it was known.

It was known in the forum that some barangays have more than 1 cooperative in their area, one barangay having eight, two having seven.

CDA Director Franco Guilabo Bawang urged the “cooperators” to work for the betterment of the cooperatives, and stay focused and responsible for progressive enterprise.

Mayor Mauricio Domogan in his message, expressed confidence that with feasible and doable aims, and experts sharing knowledge on how to run the organization, proper accounting and transparency; cooperatives along with its members would prosper. Cooperatives should take advantage of government programs to assist them, the mayor said. One such assistance is the Credit Security Fund which amounts up to P20M, and was availed by one cooperative in the city after fulfilling all requirements, Domogan added.

Councilor Allad-iw said the summit’s output would serve as basis for crafting legislative measures for cooperatives and livelihood efforts in the city.
The summit is anchored on the theme, “Cooperatives and Beyond.” – juliegfianza