FOR a government worker such as myself, it is common for us to have loans with automatic repayment deducted from our monthly pay. It is quite often that we resort to other means of borrowing cash and our employee’s cooperative is the likely fallback with the least hassle. My wife regularly keeps-up with her coop loan’s repayment schedule for fear that she might lose her membership benefits or worse, her savings be forfeited.
A cooperative as defined by the Cooperative Development Authority is meant to help improve the quality of life and provide goods and services to its members to enable them to attain increased income, savings, investments, productivity, and purchasing power, and promote among themselves equitable distribution of net surplus through maximum utilization of economies of scale, cost-sharing and risk-sharing.
Also, a coop provides optimum social and economic benefits to its members, teach them efficient ways of doing things in a cooperative manner, propagate cooperative practices and new ideas in business and management, allow low income and less privileged groups to increase their ownership in the wealth of the nation; and cooperate with the government, other cooperatives and people-oriented organizations to further the attainment of any of the foregoing objectives.
There are various types of cooperatives that I failed to mention in my earlier column which I want to include now.
Among the cooperatives being supported by CDA are: Credit Cooperative - one that promotes and undertakes savings and lending services among its members. It generates a common pool of funds in order to provide financial assistance and other related financial services to its members for productive and provident purposes.
There is a Consumer Cooperative which purpose is to procure and distribute commodities to members and non-members, the Producers Cooperative undertakes agricultural or industrial joint production and processing of raw materials or goods produced by its members.
The Marketing Cooperative engages in the supply of production inputs to members and markets their products and Service Cooperative engages in medical and dental care, hospitalization, transportation, insurance, housing, labor, electric light and power, communication, professional and other services.
The type of coop that we have in my office is Multi-Purpose Cooperative which combines two or more of the business activities of the different types of cooperatives.
There is an Advocacy Cooperative which promotes and advocates the concept of cooperativism among its members and the public through socially-oriented projects, education and training, research and communication, and other similar activities to reach out to its intended beneficiaries.
Others are Agrarian Reform Cooperative which is organized by marginal farmers, the Cooperative Bank with its primary purpose of providing a wide range of financial services to cooperatives and their members.
Also, there is a Dairy Cooperative engaged in the production of fresh milk which may be processed and/or marketed as dairy products, Education Cooperative is one organized for the primary purpose of owning and operating licensed educational institutions, Electric Cooperative undertakes power generation, utilizes renewable sources, acquire and operate sub transmission or distribution to its household members.
Furthermore, there is a Financial Service Cooperative with the primary purpose of engaging in savings and credit services and other financial services, the Fishermen Cooperative for marginalized fisherfolk whose products are marketed either as fresh or processed products, the Health Services Cooperative is organized for providing medical, dental, and other health services, Housing Cooperative is meant to assist and provide access to housing for its regular members and the Insurance Cooperative which is one engaged in the business of insuring life and property of cooperatives and their members.
Those engaged in the transport services can form their Transport Cooperative whether they engage in land or sea transportation but limited to small vessels as classified by the Philippine maritime laws. The Water Service Cooperative operates and manages waters systems for the provision and distribution of potable water for its members and their households and Workers Cooperative, organized by workers including the self-employed is meant to provide employment and business opportunities to its members in accordance with cooperative principles.
There are three categories of a cooperative according to CDA and these are; Primary with members which are natural persons, Secondary-the members of which are primaries and Tertiary-the members of which are secondary cooperatives. So who can be members of a cooperative? According to CDA, a cooperative has two kinds of members: regular members and associate members. A regular member is one who has complied with all the membership requirements and entitled to all the rights and privileges of membership as stated in the Cooperative Code and the cooperative by laws. An associate member as explained has no right to vote and be voted upon and is entitled only to such rights and privileges provided by the cooperative's by laws.