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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, August 22, 2015
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Strengthen coops, PCL urged

Former Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla yesterday urged members of the Philippine Councilors League to strengthen their credit cooperative, during their 3-day summit at SMX Convention Center in Bacolod City.

Petilla, who represented Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas, shared his experience with cooperatives as former governor of Leyte and how it can help the PCL propel its credit cooperative to a working and successful one.

He cited as example one cooperative they experimented on when he was yet governor of Leyte that started with a capital of P3 million and this grew to about P32 million in just four years.

Petilla also shared the importance of securing the salaries of government workers. Financing institutions consider the salaries of government employees as the best collateral because they have security of tenure compared to those private companies, he noted.

However, even if their salaries are increased, they still cannot help obtaining loans. So, one of the solutions is to form cooperatives where they will be able to earn dividends, he said.

Petilla said that they discussed this matter when he was requested by Roxas to represent him.

He told Roxas that whoever becomes president to replace President Aquino will have to know these facts and will have to do something about it, otherwise, how will you curtail corruption in this country? he asked.

“The message of Roxas is very simple. He wants to relay that he knows the problem and if given a chance will try to resolve this by strengthening the Cooperative Development Authority,” Petilla said.

“This is the only way we can move forward in this country. Strengthen yourselves. Strengthen CDA and move forward,” he said.

There are many millionaire cooperatives. Why can't it be the PCL? Petilla asked.

Meanwhile, Vice President Jejomar Binay, who was represented by Councilor Edgar Castillo at the summit Thursday night, said cooperatives are historically not associated with Asian countries.

The oldest and most successful cooperatives were founded in the US and Western Europe. However, cooperatives here in the Philippines have grown, he said.

Statistics from the Cooperative Development Authority show that, as of December 2014, there were 24,652 registered cooperatives in the country. They employ 290,662 people and boast of assets of over P248 billion, Binay said through Castillo.

But all these numbers and figures are foreign to those who unjustly suffer the pains of hunger each day. True growth is felt on the ground in the simplest things like access to food, shelter, education, medical care and employment, he said.

He also said development must strive to create this equality of access for all citizens at all times, if it is to be truly relevant and beneficial. “Our immediate challenge then is to prepare people for employment, to provide jobs or at least create an environment where jobs are made available, in order to address the pressing problems of poverty and hunger,” his message said.

Unemployment, which has mainly affected the poor, has been one of the problems that has hounded our society, Binay said, through Castillo.

He also said that, given proper support, cooperatives can become catalysts that will contribute to the eradication of poverty by providing jobs and stimulating the economy of the communities in which they operate, he said.

Another problem for local cooperatives is that the CDA is still finalizing Comprehensive Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations, Binay said.

It has been six years since the effectivity of RA 9520, which amended the Cooperative Code of the Philippines, and yet the CDA is still without quasi-judicial powers to enforce the law and its rules, he said.*CGS





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