BY NATURE, nurture and by law, cooperatives exist for social transformation based on the principles of social justice, equity and sustainable development. In pursuance of such mandate, the cooperatives are now gearing-up for the four P’s which stand for People, Planet, Peace and Prosperity.

People, the number one resource of the country, are the subject and object of development, thus, their potentials must be fully developed in accordance with the core principle of sustainable development. Harnessing the people’s collective potentials and capacities has become imperative and must now take precedence over all other priorities. Countries which have not developed their human capital are now being penalized by slow growth, as in the case of the Philippines which is now the poorest country in East Asia.

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Planet, Mother Earth, is now in severe pain. We are now in the 10th year of the 21st century but we are not certain anymore if we can reach the 22nd century as the earth warms and the oceans rise.

A hundred thousand years ago, the earth had only about 10,000 people. The earth’s population has reached three billion in 1900. While it took a hundred thousand years to produce 3 billion earthlings, it took only 110 years to double that figure to 6 billion people now. By 2050, the world’s population will reach 9.3 billion according to UN demographers or an additional 3.3 billion in just a matter of 40 years.

How can the Planet feed, cloth and house that many people when for every one degree Celsius increase in temperature there will be a corresponding 10 percent decrease in food production? Indeed, massive famine is in the offing. This is notwithstanding the fact that there are two billion people on Earth now, mostly in Asia, who can barely eat three square meals a day.

Our country has already lost its ecological integrity and with it, goes our ecological security. From 17 million hectares of dipterocarp forest a hundred years ago, we barely have half a million hectares left. Some 40 major rivers in the country are biologically dead. Only five percent of our coral reefs are in good condition and our mangroves, the spawning grounds of fish, are almost gone. Our bays have become the waste pits of industries and our agricultural lands are poisoned due to intensive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides which find their way ultimately to our watersheds, polluting the water tables.

We must now stop our accelerating drive towards ecological disasters by healing the blighted land back to life otherwise we will all perish!

Peace has been so illusive all these years in the troubled island of Mindanao. There looms the worsening “negative peace” which was horribly manifested late last year in the “Maguindanao Massacre.” “Negative peace” exists where there may be no on-going combat but the ingredients of conflict and violence are present, ready to erupt anytime.

The cooperatives are now working to erase “negative peace” which is presented in many ways. Where power and greed driven-structures exist having private armies as vanguards; where poverty roars its ugly head stripping the communities of their human dignity.

Where the constituents have become beholden to the whims and caprices of politicians through patronage politics; where social injustices are at its worst portrayed by farmers tilling the land not their own and following mode of production which they can hardly afford; where the indigenous people are further marginalized having no access and control over their resources.

When these conditions exist, let us all beware! Physical violence will burst out anytime even for a flimsy of reason as exemplified by the recent massacre, a logical conclusion emanating from poverty driven structures that have spawned utmost fear, dire poverty and great disparities. These are by themselves subtle and silent forms of violence, the epitome of negative peace.

Through their cooperatives, all the sectors are now advancing their inherent right as citizens of this country and as responsible members of the community of the Earth. By so doing, the people are now awakened and are serving notice to one and all on the on-going metamorphosis from being just “homo sapiens” to that of being “homo pacem,” (human being for Peace), not only among themselves but peace with Mother Earth.

It is only then can there be Prosperity. (cda_cdo@yahoo.com.ph)