THE Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) aims to double the 25,611 cooperatives in the country and to grow the members from 14 million to 25 million in the next five years.

CDA Chairman Orlando Ravanera, who was in Cebu on Saturday, said cooperativism in the Philippines has already marked its 100 years in the industry, with 2016 as the first year of the next century.

“In the next five years, the number of coops in the Philippines will double and the members will reach 25 million. This is the answer to the call of the times,” Ravenera said, referring to the increasing competition brought about in the market today.

The integration of Southeast Asian nations and the present “pyramidal” structure of the Philippine economy will catalyze the growth of more cooperatives in the country, he said, describing cooperativism as a “social equalizer” where small communities pool their resources together.

In Cebu, Ravanera said there are some 800 cooperatives.

In its CDA Vision 2020, the agency envisions to graduate 50 percent of micro-cooperatives to small category, and 50 percent of small cooperatives be elevated to medium category.

“The strategy to develop the micro and small cooperatives is two-pronged: first, there should be a rationalized regulatory environment on reportorial requirements by simplifying the tools and instruments for micro cooperatives during their infancy and development stages. Second, there should be a coordinative system of infusion of assistance, financial, technical or otherwise to avoid the duplication of developmental interventions by the relevant partner government agencies catering to the same group of cooperative beneficiaries,” the CDA vision reads.

With this, the agency proposes a new CDA structure the newly created General Administrative and Support Department (GASD) will be instituted in addition to the existing Institutional Development Department (IDD) and Legal and Registration Department (LRD).

The LRD, however, will be strengthened by converting it into Registration and Regulation Department to give strength to the regulatory function of the CDA.

In addition, a Legal Affairs Office, as staff office of the board of administrators (BOA), will be created to handle the assets recovery initiatives of CDA, resolution of conflicts among cooperatives and other legal issues. There will also be a Public Affairs Office under the BOA to handle the promotional and public relations activities the CDA.

The rationalization of the Cooperative Audit System will also be introduced, among other developments. The micro cooperatives whose assets are below P500,000 may be exempt from the submission of the audited financial statements, performance, and social audit reports for five years from the date of registration. By the end of 2020, the Integrated Cooperative Audit System will already be established.

In another development, Ravanera said the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for Republic Act No. 10744 or the Credit Surety Fund Cooperative Act, which lapsed into law last Feb. 6, is already underway.