Healing the blighted land back to life

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014


THE hemorrhage of our natural resources due to mining and logging activities perpetuated by the “dark forces” that are operating in shadows is the “thesis” in the Hegelian dialectic that shapes our perception of the world.

That “thesis” should not be allowed to continue any further as it has already caused so much pain to Gaia (Mother Earth) putting in disarray the life-support systems.

Today, the “anti-thesis” looms to stop the wanton plunder of our natural wealth which is only ours to protect for the coming generations.

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The “anti-thesis” is being pushed by the “forces of the light” to heal the blighted land back to life and in effect, stop our accelerating drive towards ecological disasters.

The healing process should now be the battle cry of every Filipino that will eventually lead to the “synthesis” which is the exercise of that Constitutional right to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature.

The “forces of the light” are the cooperatives that are now exemplifying the time-honored and universally accepted cooperative principles and practices, the 7th of which is Concern for the Community which includes the number one call of the times that is, the concern for the environment.

Protecting the integrity of the environment is being done in many ways by the cooperatives, foremost of these is the Oro Integrated Cooperative (OIC).
Last year, the OIC was the 2nd Most Outstanding Cooperative in the country as adjudged by the Cooperative Development Authority under its most prestigious Gawad Parangal Award Program.

A year before that, in 2012, OIC was adjudged 3rd nationwide and who knows, this year it may finally be the number one of the more than 23,000 cooperatives nationwide.

OIC has gained headways in serving its more than 103,000 members with a total asset of more than P1.742 billion that the cooperative members own and manage to liberate them from the clutches of poverty.

The cooperative stands tall as a formidable ally of the poor, the downtrodden and the oppressed – the farmers, the fisherfolk, women, workers, vendors, drivers, lowly government employees and those in the margins of development.

In a country where vested interest and corruption has remained supreme despite all efforts for social change, OIC, in its own right has equalized opportunities for the marginalized sectors.

While the formal banking system has considered the poor non-bankable, here is a cooperative that thinks otherwise.

Indeed, when the poor harness their collective potentials and spirit, it is just magical and wondrous.

While it showcases the real essence of inclusive growth in a country that is run by cartels, conglomerates and monopolies and where 50 families have pocketed in 2012 the 70 percent of the GDP, OIC is working for paradigm shifts to re-structure a highly skewed societal order.

It is debunking conventional agriculture that relies heavily on the use of chemicals and in its stead, promotes sustainable agriculture that trusts in the innate processes of nature.

The Chairman himself, Mr. Ronnie Ravanera, is an environmentalist who had led human barricades against logging in the 90’s and a stalwart advocate of sustainable agriculture.

OIC is also fortunate to have coop leaders like Mr. Manny de la Peña, Mr. Kilian Deveza and Mr. Tom Ebcas who are well adept in sustainable agriculture.

Mr. Deveza is in-charge of the social services program of the cooperative that include tree planting in the denuded uplands of Cagayan de Oro and the feeding program for elementary pupils in poor communities.

Today, OIC shows the way on how to heal the blighted land back to life.

The denuded areas particularly along the Iponan River banks are the sites of bamboo planting by the three hundred OIC personnel in coordination with the environmentalist and coop-oriented barangay captain of Pagatpat, Hon. Achilles “Gogoy” Babaran.

“The planting of giant bamboos will not only rehabilitate the vulnerable areas to flooding but will be the source of livelihood of our poor people in Pagatpat,” said the good barangay captain.

Bamboo is one of the identified products that has global competitiveness and the handicrafts out of bamboo have high demand in the neighboring Asian countries especially those that use chopsticks.

What makes OIC tick? Well, it is a combination of good governance of highly dedicated Board of Directors and the management adroitness and commitment of its Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Floriano Hilot, a humble but firm manager.

Oozing with Integrity and Competence, the truest essence of OIC, the highly service-oriented 300 OIC personnel working in several branches in Misamis Oriental, Bukidnon, Caraga and Bohol are well-trained and motivated to serve effectively and efficiently the increasing membership.

That formidable combination of integrity and competence has phenomenally created breakthroughs to leap the cooperative to greater heights.

Six years ago, OIC has about 43,000 members and a total asset of just over P580 million.

Today, the total membership has jumped to 103,000 and the total asset has leaped to P1.7 billion.

Truly, OIC exemplifies the essence of cooperativism as it advances an alternative development paradigm where the people and the environment are the priorities.

It may have already reached the zenith of the accolades as top-notch cooperative nationwide, but OIC has gained its mark in healing the wounds of Mother Earth and the economic wounds of the people as well. To that, our firm salute!

It was in a Sunday (July 5) that they came to express their love to GAIA with a firm collective intent, as sons and daughter of the Earth, to care for environment.

Indeed, protecting God’s vanishing creation is the highest form of worship – all for God’s greater glory.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on July 08, 2014.

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