October is Cooperative Month-A A +A
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
HOW will the One Thousand Five Hundred Sixteen cooperatives in Region 10 with over half a million members celebrate a month in a year that has been declared by the United Nations as the International Year of the Cooperatives?
For everyone’s information, by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 493, October has been declared as Cooperative Month. The United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed the year 2012 as the International Year of the Cooperatives (IYC) through Resolution 64/136 to raise public awareness of the contribution of cooperatives to social and economic development.
The month-long celebration will see a big explosion of the cooperative spirit in the country and more so in Region X. This is because Cagayan de Oro will be the venue of the National Cooperative Summit on October 10 to 12, 2012 at the Atrium of Limketkai Center, which will bring together some 5,000 cooperative leaders from all over the Philippines.
Among the activities lined up include Tree Planting, Agri-Agra Cooperatives Forum, People’s Mining Summit, Cooperative Development Council Mindanao-wide convergence, motorcades, conferences, sports and several cooperative undertakings to give notice to one and all that the cooperatives are proving equal to the interesting statement of President Aquino that, “Ang mga kooperatiba po ang katuwang ng pamahalaan laban sa matinding kahirapan . . . ang kaagapay ng gobyerno sa pagtataguyod ng sistemang patas at maunlad.”
That cooperativism has come of age is beyond question. Amidst the problems besetting our society, the cooperatives in Region X have silently but effectively worked to make life better for the oppressed, the poor and the downtrodden, in whose name and for whose cause, cooperatives exist. The cooperative sector in Northern Mindanao is now significant player in the region’s growing economy with a total volume of business of some eleven billion pesos annually.
Today, as we begin the month-long celebration, the cooperative movement is declaring affirmatively that it is up to the task of being a vehicle of peace, progress and of social justice. October is their month and will therefore carry-out activities to put cooperativism in the public imagination and consciousness, anchored on the truism that cooperativism is the only democratic process now that can liberate the people from the pangs of hunger and poverty.
October is the month of the poor and the hungry as it reels-off punctuated with important celebration that put to the fore pressing issues which much be resolved by mobilizing their collective potentials, energies and experiences.
October 16 is World Food Day by virtue of a United Nation’s Resolution while October 17 is the Day for Overcoming Extreme Poverty. October is also the month of the Indigenous People.
It is a wonderful coincidence that all of the above-mentioned celebrations fall together on the same month as these events are inextricably linked and the issues they carry are very much inter-related.
This month is the apt time for all of us to pause and reflect on issues of poverty and hunger not only nationally but also globally. As embodied in the Millennium Development Goals, all the nations in the world have targeted the eradication of poverty as their number one priority.
This is so because out of the 4.4 billion people in the developing countries, 1.3 billion live on less than $1/day; 2.8 billion on less than $2/day. Close to 790 million people struggle to meet their basic food need requirements on a daily basis. Each year, 15 million people die of poverty related causes, most are children.
In the Philippines, poverty continues to afflict our country such that it has “become a second skin for more than a third of our people. The poverty scenario is paradoxically worse in the ecologically rich island of Mindanao as its six regions are suffering from high poverty gap ratios compared to other regions. In fact, the poor in Mindanao are the poorest through-out the nation, a painful reality in the land of plenty.
We have now reversed the unsustainable pattern of a development paradigm that has sacrificed people and the environment to the altar of greed and profit. Time is of the essence. By 2015, “there will be an unprecedented demand for food, water, shelter and jobs for 96.3 million Filipinos,” as indicated in the Human Development Indicators.
The spirit of cooperativism shines through amidst the darkness of poverty and social inequities. Where people are poor because they are powerless to craft their own destiny, where hunger looms because of social injustice as the mode of production and basic utilities are controlled by a few, where people are in dire economic difficulties because of lack of opportunities, skills and capabilities, it is during this time when cooperatives thrive best.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on October 02, 2012.