What is a Cooperative and what benefit can a member get? (Part 2)-A A +A
By Art Tibaldo
Monday, February 3, 2014
THE 1987 Philippine Constitution recognizes the important role of cooperatives in the development of the nation. What I mentioned and wrote in my earlier column are the various types of cooperatives that can be registered with the Cooperative Development Authority so that members can have a legitimate organization in as far as cooperativism is concerned.
It has been enshrined in our laws that private enterprises including corporation, cooperatives and similar collective organizations shall be encouraged to broaden their base of membership.
The Cooperative Code of the Philippines states that Individuals and private groups including corporations, cooperatives and similar collective organizations shall have the right to own establish, and operate economic enterprises subject to the duty of the state to promote distributive justice and to intervene when the common good so demands.
Section 5, Article XIII of the code mentions that the state shall recognize the right of farmers, farm workers, and land owners, as well as cooperatives, and other independent farmer's organization to participate in the planning, organization and management of the program, and shall provide support to agriculture through appropriate technology and research, and adequate financial, production, marketing and other support services.
The Cooperative Development Authority on the basis of its charter as approved by the President has adopted various forms of cooperatives such as the creation of a system of education, training and research for cooperatives. This system recognizes the existing state and private schools, colleges and universities as well as cooperatives with capacity to conduct education and training for cooperatives. The authority shall also re-define the use of cooperative education and training fund (CETF) in the creation of the said system of education, training and research for cooperatives.
The CDA allows cooperatives to conduct the training for their officers and members. The collected CETF is used as the source of fund for this purpose. The observations are clear that the CETF is not properly used and the conduct of training and education is so varied in terms of depth, breadth and methods.
The CDA also strongly promotes the development of agricultural cooperatives, in coordination with the Department of Agriculture and Department of Agrarian Reform shall be a primary concern of the Authority to ensure food security, and reduce rural poverty. CDA considers agriculture including agrarian reform as the largest sector of the economy in terms of land area covered, number of people dependent on it for living, and contribution to GDP. It is also a major source of foreign exchange. Noting the fact that the highest incidence of poverty in the country is in the agriculture and rural sector, the CDA believes that we need a strong productive agriculture sector thus, the development of cooperatives in agriculture and rural areas is the only way for the Philippines to compete in the globalized economy, to feed its people, have food security, and reduce rural poverty.
On the qualification of members of a cooperative governing board, the CDA gave some recommendation stating that the Chairperson or a member of the Board who shall be appointed must possess all qualifications such as; natural born Filipino Citizen; holder of at least bachelor's degree and five years of experience as an officer of a cooperative, government agency, or non- government organization engaged in cooperative development, or in the absence of the bachelor's degree, at least ten years of experience either as an officer of a cooperative or a government or non-government organization engaged in cooperative development.
No organization however shall be allowed to use the title "cooperative" in its name unless it follows all generally accepted cooperative principles, applicable cooperative laws, and is duly registered with the CDA or other authorized government agency. According to the act, organizations which have used the word "cooperative" as part of their nomenclature but which do not qualify as cooperatives under the Act shall have three years within which to qualify and to register with the Authority.
It shall be unlawful for the organizations to continue using the word "cooperative" in their names if at the end of the three-year period provided, the said organizations still did not comply with the requirements stated in the cooperative act.
Being a member of a cooperative therefore is providential if it encourages thrift and savings mobilization among the members, generates funds and extends credit to the members for productive and provident purposes. Members of cooperatives are expected to engage in systematic production and marketing, provide goods and develop expertise and skills. Cooperatives can acquire lands and provide housing benefit for the members, insure against losses and promote and advance the economic, social and educational state of its cooperators.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on February 04, 2014.