This is an excerpt from the report given by Mr. Nestor Leguro, Cooperative Development Officer, during the Monday flag-raising ceremony on September 30, 2019 at the Tacurong City Hall.

Together with my staff, we were able to attend the 9th National Tripartite Conference for the Development of Cooperatives last September 11, 12 and 13, 2019 at General Santos City.  This conference was the biggest national co-op event (in terms of a number of participants) being conducted here in Region 12. 

The National Tripartite Conference for the Development of Cooperatives is the convergence of the three (3) important pillars of Cooperativism or the Cooperative Movement of our country — the Local Government Units, the Cooperative Development Authority, and the Cooperative Sector.  In this conference, issues and concerns affecting the cooperatives were being discussed; solutions and resolutions were proposed, made or crafted for immediate and appropriate actions.

The conference spearheaded by the Liga ng mga Cooperative Development Officers sa Pilipinas or LCDOP, in coordination with the CDA, was hosted by the City Government of General Santos City. LGU Gen San allocated a 2.2 million peso budget for this event that brought to the city more or less 2,500 participants coming from all over the country.

In this event, I was fortunate to be one of the four LGU discussants. Together with the Province of Batangas, Province of Dinagat Islands and General Santos City, we presented and discussed our own LGU’s Program, Strategies, and Experiences in the Co-op Development and Mainstreaming in the LGUs.

In my presentation, I was able to present two subject matters: One, is our LGU’s Profile thru the video presentation of the City of Tacurong 101, and in passing I mentioned our Bird Sanctuary that got the attention of some participants, because, after my presentation, they asked me if how far is our city from Gen San; the second subject matter I shared was all about our Co-op Development Program.

The Cooperative Program and Structure presented by the four discussants have its own uniqueness and similarities.  The LGUs being presented vary in terms of size in budget and organizational strength, but the PPAs were more or less almost the same but vary only on the strategies in the implementation.

Say for example, LGU-Batangas Province has a budget of more than 79 million pesos for her co-op program while ours is only 2.1 million pesos for personal services, 400 thousand for MOOE, 3.48 million for Co-op Livelihood Program, and P200 thousand pesos being strategically utilized for Locally Funded Co-op PPAs, and we are very thankful for that, because many LGUs do not have that kind of support.

The Provincial Cooperative and Livelihood Development Office of Batangas Province has an organizational strength of 49 personnel, while our City Office for the Development of Cooperatives is composed of 3 regular personnel (1 Cooperative Officer-Grade 25, 1 Cooperative Development Specialist-Grade 11, and 1 Administrative Aide IV-Grade 4), and two JOs.  Comparing their organizational structure to ours, theirs is quite big, while ours is just simple with the Cooperative Officer at the top of our structure, and in the middle, the one at left handles the Co-op Livelihood Program, Administrative Functions, and many others, while the one at the right, handles the Co-op Education and Training Program, Clerical Functions, and many others. The two good individuals at the bottom are our support staff.   

The Co-op PPAs that we are implementing for this year in cooperation and coordination with our CCDC, and being funded by our Local Fund of P200 thousand pesos are the following:   

  1. Co-op Month Celebration every October is being celebrated with a series of activities. LGU support budget for this year’s celebration is P35,000.00.  The 2019 Co-op Month Celebration’s theme is “COOPERATIVISM:  A Countervailing Force Against Climate Change and Extremism Through People Empowerment to Trail-blaze Shift in Paradigm Towards Sustainability and Social Inclusion”.  We will start our Co-op Month Celebration tomorrow, October 1, 2019 with a motorcade, followed by a short program at our City’s Gymnasium.  We will be having some team building fun games with prizes, raffle, trivia (the smaller version of co-op quiz bee) with prizes.

On October 9, 2019, at 1 o’clock in the afternoon, we will be having a Forum on Laboratory Cooperative at CDRRMC.  Our invited speaker is the Provincial Cooperative Officer of Dinagat Islands in the person of Mr. Alvin dela Cruz. At present, we have only one active laboratory cooperative in our city, supervised by the SKSUMPC as the guardian cooperative. We were able to request P20,000.00 from our good city mayor, for the promotion and organization of laboratory cooperatives in our city, this is another example of LGU support to the cooperatives.  Laboratory Cooperatives will teach our children the beauty of cooperative, the value of thrift and savings and better prepare them to be the future members of our aging cooperatives with aging members.

On October 18, 2019, we will be conducting our Riparian Protection Activity or Protection of our River Banks.  Eleven years ago, our cooperative sector through our office had a MOA with AVLADA in connection with this advocacy. LGU’s support budget for this years’ co-op advocacy on environment protection is P11,000.00.  The co-op sector is advocating environment protection, not because it has a bearing with the theme of this year’s Co-op Month Celebration, not only because for the protection of the future and existence of cooperatives, but because for the protection of our people and communities.

Our Culmination and Closing Program will be on October 31, 2019.  Awarding for the 2019 Search for Outstanding Cooperatives will be done during this program.  LGU support budget for this search activity is P9,000.00.

  • One important feature of our Cooperative Development Program is the Co-op Education and Training.  Our 2019 LGU support budget as a training subsidy for our homegrown cooperatives is P72, 000.00.  This budget was already consummated in two mandatory training of our cooperatives that were already conducted in the first semester of this year. 

LGU City of Tacurong thru our office is the only Cooperative Training Provider accredited by the CDA in the Province of Sultan Kudarat.  We acquired our first accreditation in 2015, and our second accreditation will terminate in 2020.  This is pursuant to CDA MC No. 2015-10, but we had been conducting co-op training and seminars even before this accreditation, even before the creation of the City’s Cooperative Office when Tacurong was still a Municipality.

  • Our office handles also the LGU Co-op Livelihood Assistance for our homegrown cooperatives.  We have a 3.4 million peso budget for this from the General Trust Fund.  This budget will eventually be reduced to 2.4 since the 1 million LGUs’ investment for the newly organized City of Tacurong Credit Surety Fund Cooperative will be sliced from this fund.  Qualified co-op applicants can avail of this loan with a maximum ceiling of P300 thousand pesos, zero interest payable within one year either in a lump sum or installment basis. As agreed by the cooperative council there is a 1% Institutional Development Fee being charged that goes to the co-op council’s fund for the purpose of strengthening the co-op council fiscally.
  • Another milestone for our cooperative sector was the organization of the City of Tacurong CSF Co-op.  With the help of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas we were able to organize the said co-op and launched it last October 21, 2018, and all the stakeholders signed the MOA.  It was followed by the conduct of the CSF Strategic Planning Workshop on October 24-25, 2018, and CSF Business Forum last April 4, 2019.  All of these activities were being funded by the BSP.

The CTCSF Co-op has 10 members with an aggregate investment of P8 million pesos.  The members with their respective investments are the following:  LGU City of Tacurong – P3 million pesos, LBP-P3 million pesos, DBP-P1 million pesos, and the seven founding primary cooperatives total investment is P1 million pesos. 

We are still in the process of registering our CTCSF Co-op with the CDA.

  • We manage the Co-op BLT Farm Project.  This is a one-hectare land planted with corn.  Our LGU has allocated P25,000.00 pesos budget for this project.  Net proceeds of this project go to the CCDC and Busog Lusog Talino Program of the LGU.
  • In connection with our co-op social responsibility, we facilitate the Gift Giving Activity of our CCDC and Primary Cooperatives every December.  LGU’s counterpart for this year is P11,500.00.

Forty (40) destitute family-beneficiaries were identified through our City Social Welfare Office for the Gift Giving Activity.  The beneficiaries were given rice, groceries, medicines, and vitamins.

Among the forty family-beneficiaries, we identify and select 1 family for the Co-op Kabuhayan Assistance Project.  The qualified beneficiary for Co-op KAP will receive a kabuhayan project such as swine/goat rearing, and others.  LGU’s budget for this year is P25,000.00.

To recap, our P200 thousand pesos from CAF-LF allocation is utilized to eight (8) PPAs, the Co-op Month Celebration, Search for Outstanding Co-op, Training Subsidy, Environment Advocacy, Co-op KAP, Gift Giving, Co-op – BLT Farm Project, and hosting of meetings. Though the budget is small, we strategize its maximum utilization to attain maximum output. We source out also funds from our cooperatives, other organizations, and benefactors to finance other activities that we conduct not covered by the LGU funds.

  • Other LGU’s Support: 
  • Allocation of 35×50 meters lot for the proposed co-op Training and Multi-Purpose Center through SP Res. No. 057-3rd SP, Series of 2004.
  • Inclusion of initial allocation of P2 million pesos in the 2020 LGU budget for the construction of the proposed City of Tacurong and Multi-Purpose Center initiated by Mayor Montilla.
  • P20 thousand pesos extended by our LCE for the promotion and organization of Eskwela Kooperatiba this 2019.

One important point before I will end. On behalf of the cooperative sector I would like to say thank you to our Honorable Mayor and all our LGU Officials for the support extended to the cooperative movement of our city.  Special thanks to our Honorable City Mayor Angelo O. Montilla for being instrumental in the creation of our Office for the Development of Cooperatives in the year 2000.  You were the Representative of the Lone District of the Province of Sultan Kudarat when Municipality of Tacurong was converted into a city through RA. No. 8805 was approved and signed on August 16, 2000, by President Joseph E. Estrada. 

Along with that conversion was the creation of new LGU offices.  Among the newly created offices, that time was the Office for the Development of Cooperatives (Article 7 of RA No. 8805).  Again, thank you very much.

In closing, we are all Magigiting hopefully.  In order to become one, we need two things: first we need to become Mahusay at Matino, second, we need to become Matino at Mahusay na mga Kawani ng Gobyerno. Maraming salamat late Secretary Robredo for that.

Sa liwat, isa ka Maka-Diyos, Maka-Kooperatiba, Maka-Kalikasan kag Matawhay-Malinong nga Adlaw sa aton tanan.(Nestor Leguro, Office of Cooperative Development)