Garibaldi O. Leonardo, PCC Chairperson
PCC in 2020
This past year has left deep scars not only for the country but for the entire world. Our economies were halted, our social institutions disabled. But amidst this still ongoing pandemic, the cooperative sector in the Philippines has been working hard to support and uplift people’s lives. As a self-imposed mandate, the Philippine Cooperative Center (or PCC), working hand in hand with the cooperative sector, has served as a lighthouse for the cooperative communities during these uncertain times. Together with the cooperative sector, we have stood our ground and continue to push forward.
Through our cluster conferences that were held nationwide in 2020, PCC has come up with strategic plans for 2021 and beyond, not only for itself but for the cooperative sector as a whole. The latter was done in partnership with Coop NATCCO Party List and was duly supported by our cooperative leaders. All these have served to strengthen PCC’s presence in all cluster conferences and meetings as well as in policy advocacies both at the executive and legislative branches of government. All these, in turn, are geared towards advancing the agenda of the cooperative sector. Thus far, we have been seeing the fruits of all our sector’s efforts.
With the assistance of PCC’s member-cooperatives, and of other cooperatives as well, the government has recognized the capability of the cooperative sector in helping the fight against Covid-19. This came mainly in the form of food packs, medical supplies and personal protective equipment. The cooperative sector is, in fact, now recognized as a direct partner and conduit of the government in the latter’s economic recovery programs. Moreover, cooperatives have particularly been recognized as a significant force in countryside development and nation-building.
[Please also read the following links for our relief operations reports:
Through the use of their respective Community Development Funds (or CDFs), cooperatives have been assisting their members and respective communities in the fight against Covid-19 – a fact duly recognized – and in turn, supported – by our senators and representatives in Congress – notably the House Committee on Cooperatives and the Senate Committee on Cooperatives – as well as in major news outlets.
For the strengthening of the cooperative sector in this most treacherous time, PCC successfully lobbied for the inclusion of cooperatives in the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act. We have also
lobbied for the inclusion of credit cooperatives as one of the establishments allowed to operate during the Enhanced Community Quarantine (or ECQ) period, thereby allowing opportunities for the cooperative sector to reach out and help the different communities. While the PIFITA Act is still under review, PCC has managed to prevent the inclusion of Banks and Credit Cooperatives in the new round of tax measures.
As a sign of unity and community, the cooperative sector and PCC have continuously worked closely with various government institutions, in order to further recognize and support our respective
communities. This year, we reached out to, consulted with, and formalized our networks with various government institutions. We have lobbied with the Department of Agriculture to explicitly include cooperatives in the food security framework. In this regard, the Department of Agriculture has generously shared and expounded on, as well as expanded, their four-point program for our agri coops, namely on: (1) institutional development, (2) agri-preneurship of federations, (3) inclusive agri-business anchored on value-chain, and (4) the big brother-small brother initiative for collective action within the sector.
PCC held planning discussions with the Land Bank of the Philippines that resulted in the formation of a technical working group, which is in partnership with the Coop Natcco Partylist. Thus far, LBP has positively responded to many of the issues and concerns raised by the cooperative sector. Together with the National Anti-Poverty Commission’s Cooperative Sectoral Council (or NAPC CSC), a basic sector lens development framework vis a vis the Balik Probinsya, Bagong Pag Asa Program was developed for the government’s consideration.
We continue to strengthen our relationship with the sector’s mother agency, the Department of Trade and Industry. Secretary Ramon Lopez himself sounded out his support for and intent to further strengthen the agency’s partnership with the cooperative sector. This would not have been made possible without the help of cooperative leaders from the different federations, unions and primaries.
PCC established a partnership with the Department of Interior and Local Government vis-à-vis cooperative concerns and issues particularly in relation to the new law, R.A. 11364 on Strengthening and Reorganizing the Cooperative Development Authority (or CDA), the Board of which the DILG Secretary himself is an ex-officio member. Many issues, particularly those relating to taxes and
registration fees, have also been tackled.
PCC is also not bereft of international participation and recognition. PCC, together with other affiliates of the International Cooperative Alliance (or ICA) in the Philippines, hosted the visit here of ICA President Ariel Guarco and Regional Director Balu Iyer. Together with the other members in the Philippines, PCC was invited to participate in a webinar organized by ICA that carried the theme “Post COVID -19 Response of Cooperatives in Asia-Pacific”. Partly in view of its contributions during this pandemic, PCC was recognized by ICA as one of the key cooperatives in the Philippines in terms of international and national representation with regard to advocating for the cooperative agenda.
you may read the article here: http://pccapex.coop/2020/10/26/cooperatives-in-the-ica-bracing-for-greater-changes-under-the-new-normal/
Let this be a testament that during a pandemic that is of this global magnitude and nature, PCC and the cooperative sector constitute more than a viable “alternative”. We are – and will always be – an avenue for uplifting the lives of our respective communities, more so during times of crisis. Because beyond and more than the numbers, PCC, together with – and in support of – the cooperative sector, is evidently an institute for socio-economic development.
Moving forward, PCC aims to be more inclusive in its agenda and activities. If there’s anything good that has at all come out of this pandemic, it is the wider, more extensive use of technology for the “new normal”. Webinars have allowed us to reach what could physically have been considered distant sectors, both locally and internationally. Meetings can now be held within the safety of our homes. Accessible, trendy, economic, and inclusive.
PCC aims, in the coming years, to move forward through technology in general, and digitization in particular. This is all for the foremost benefit of the cooperative sector. That… is the pervading theme for 2021 and immediately beyond, that is… digitization for more inclusive cooperatives.
Especially during the most trying times such as this, we at PCC will always keep in mind that whatever accomplishments and successes we make will always be shared with the cooperative sector.
Because through the spirit of cooperation that is embedded in each and every cooperative, we – as a sector and as a movement – can surmount any and whatever difficulties we may face in the years ahead.
Copy of the Article and Press Release
Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri : https://youtu.be/PhDyUHgbDYE