BEING a part of a cooperative such as a credit cooperative has good benefits. It will help you save money and get loans when in need of fast cash amount.

But as a responsible member of a co-op, it’s also very important to focus attention to where the amount of savings is going including the source of funds. This can be done by studying the financial statement of the organization which is usually being presented during a general assembly.

An accountant who is not an officer of the organization can help one understand all the meaning of numbers reflected in the financial statement that any member should know. By merely looking at the report he will immediately know if there is an account problem including the real state of finances up to the last cent.

Some concerns that should be given attention to for instance are reports having more expenses made compared to the income incurred and big amount of professional fees given to employees who are already receiving regular salary and wages plus honorarium and allowances.

According to Cooperative Development Authority- CAR under such circumstances, following Article 46- Compensation Provisions of Republic Act No. 9520, known as the “Philippine Cooperative code of 2008” the board and directors and officers are not entitled to such benefits.

Article 46 states that in the absence of any provisions in the bylaws fixing their compensation, the directors shall not receive any compensation except for reasonable per diems: Provided however, That the directors and officers shall not be entitled to any per diem when, in the preceding calendar year, the cooperative reported a net loss or had a dividend rate less than the official inflation rate for the same year.

Any compensation other than per diems may be granted to directors by a majority vote of the members with voting rights at a regular or special general assembly meeting specifically called for the purpose.

Article seven also states that the primary objective of every cooperative is to help improve the quality of life of its members by providing the optimum social and economic benefits to its members and allow the lower income and less privileged groups to increase their ownership in wealth of the nation.

With this, it should be the members who should be benefiting more and not the board who should know more about the essence of volunteerism and responsibilities of membership as stated in Article 4.

Perhaps the CDA-CAR can also check on the financial statements of cooperatives in the region especially those whose members belong to the marginalized group.

Also, when in doubt about your co-op’s financial statement, consult immediately an accountant.

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