AROUND 800 cooperatives all over Mindanao have gathered in Cagayan de Oro City to attend this year’s Mindanao Cooperative Summit at the Xavier University Gymnasium, on Thursday, September 5.
Anchored on the theme: “Achieving Food Security, Advancing Ecological Integrity through Cooperativism, Climate and Disaster Resiliency towards Poverty Reduction,” the cooperative summit discussed several topics that touches issues on the state of the environment in Cagayan de Oro City and Northern Mindanao.
Also tackled were advancing the rights of the Indigenous People (IP) on ancestral domain, cultural integrity, self-determination and empowerment; food security, ensuring agricultural productivity amidst climate change, and Department of Agriculture’s (DA) programs for cooperatives and IPs; and poverty reduction programs and policies.
“Karon, I am now formulating a declaration that we will debunk conventional agriculture, that we will shift to organic sustainable agriculture, that we will empower the IPs,” Undersecretary Orlando Ravanera, the chairman of the Cooperative Development Authority, said.
Ravanera said that once signed, he will present it to President Rodrigo Duterte.
Meanwhile, Cagayan de Oro officials have signified their commitment to assist in the protection of the environment.
City Councilor Teodulfo Lao, the chairman of the committee on public utilities, said he hoped more cooperatives will be created to provide services, such as water and transportation, to the public.
He also encouraged the existing cooperatives to help in their efforts to mobilize jeepney drivers or operators into forming cooperatives that can secure government funding assistance under the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program.
City Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro) chief Armen Cuenca, on the other hand, said that a technical working group and the Ecological Services Protection Committee will be raising funds and work with stakeholders to conserve and protect the Cagayan de Oro River Basin and the watershed areas.
Apart from the cooperatives and the city officials, the summit was also participated by National Commission on Indigenous People chairman Undersecretary Allen Capuyan, Department of Trade and Industry Assistant Secretary Ameenah Fajardo, Technical Educational and Skills Development Authority Director General Isidro Lapeña, country head-Agri Risk Management and Climate Change-Philippines Dr. Eugen Tjong, and SatSure Technology Solutions Dr. Arvind Kumar TJ.
A covenant of commitment to protect the environment was also signed during the cooperative summit.