CFI coop and Camotes-A A +A
Thursday, September 5, 2013
HERE'S no doubt about the importance of cooperatives, notably in a society dominated by landlords and capitalists. Coops empower people who otherwise would have been helpless in parrying abuse and exploitation by the moneyed. A coop’s strength is in the unity of its members.
I organized farmers in my younger years and saw how potent coops can be in the anti-feudal struggle.
An example: farmers once complained about how expensive the items sold in the only sari-sari store in their village. Since most of the store’s consumers were members of our organization, a coop-in-miniature was setup, with each farmer contributing an amount for the seed capital used to buy basic items sold cheap to the members.
The purchased items were placed in a house that was accessible to everyone in the village. The items bought and sold and the profits were monitored monthly. In a few months the “store” grew with the patronage of the members—-practically the entire
population of the village.
The store that sold expensive products eventually closed.
The Cebu CFI (Court of First Instance) Community Cooperative is one coop that started small (29 members, P200 in asset in 1970) and grew big (80,000 members, P7 billion in assets in 2013).
Its membership is no longer limited to CFI (now Regional Trial Court) employees but has expanded to people not only in Cebu but in other provinces of the country.
Its operation no longer just involves lending money and charging low interest rates (to battle loan sharks) but includes myriads of other services as well.
Credited for the founding and the growth of the cooperative were then executive judge Francisco Tantuico and retired judge (former clerk of court) Esperanza F. Garcia, wife of former congressman Pablo Garcia and mother of former governor (now third district congresswoman) Gwendolyn Garcia and another former congressman, Pablo John Garcia.
In 1987, or during the term of Osmundo Rama as governor, the Provincial Capitol signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the CFI coop to provide better credit facilities to Capitol employees. It put in place the arrangement wherein the salary of the employee-borrower is coursed through the coop, which deducts the loan payment before releasing the remainder of the salary to the employee-borrower.
Rama was succeeded as governor by Emilio “Lito” Osmeña and then by Vicente “Tingting” de la Serna before the Garcias took over the helm of Capitol, first under Pablo (nine years) and then under Gwendolyn (nine years). The non-Garcias, Osmeña and de la Serna, didn’t mull rescinding Capitol’s MOA with the CFI coop.
Gov. Hilario “Junjun” Davide III ended the Garcias’ rule in Capitol. The Provincial Board recently discussed the possibility of rescinding the Capitol-CFI coop MOA.
Incidentally, the CFI cooperative was also assaulted during the campaign for the May 13 elections. It was accused of funneling money to the Garcias’ campaign.
It’s called “weder-weder lang” and is supposed to be norm in this country’s politics.
With the Garcias’ exit of the Capitol, the undoing by the Davide administration of the things the Garcias did followed.
In this sense, I am also worried about the fate of the Camotes group of islands (my mother was from Poro town and my late father was from Tudela). Camotes got attention from former governor Gwendolyn Garcia and received many projects throughout her three-term rule.
I wasn’t surprised, therefore, when Pablo John Garcia, who ran for governor against Davide, had a good showing in the May 13 elections in Camotes even if Davide’s partymate, Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale, was acting governor when Gwen was suspended for six months.
Will Camotes still get Capitol’s support despite this? I reckon that the new rulers of the province didn’t like the poll results there.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 05, 2013.