July 27, 2023
October 3, 2023


The Philippine Cooperative Centre once again hosted its periodic CEO-BOD Dialogue on September 1 and 4, which saw active online participation from several representatives and leaders from different cooperative entities and affiliated organizations.

Among the esteemed presenters were Caritas Manila President and CEO Fr. Anton CT Pascual; Leonardo Q. Montemayor, Federation of Free Farmers Board Chairman; Dr. Regina Salvador Antequisa, Executive Director of ECOWEB; and NATCCO CEO Engr. Sylvia Paraguya.


Open-minded Servant-Leaders: Fr. Anton

In his presentation discussing the values and qualities needed by cooperative leaders, Fr. Anton said that “-  a great leader must be open-minded, which, in turn, sets the pace for building close relationships among members, peers, and those within the organization”. He stressed the need for constant communication, stating that “if you want to be close to each other, be open to each other.”

Fr. Anton highlighted the ethical value of a servant-leader as caring for others, emphasizing that these values give dignity to others, placing values before principles. It is here that the concept of ‘passion with purpose’ is rooted through the practice of solid values.

“Leadership is about relationships; the more we relate, the more we grow as leaders,” continued Fr. Anton, noting that authentic servant-leaders reach out to one another and connect with their followers from the bottom up. Fr. Anton also emphasized the need for self-discipline in a great leader together with the need for strong dialogue and engagement capabilities which involves learning something new, relearning old knowledge, and even discarding or unlearning (or correcting) previous knowledge.

“Lastly, great, effective leadership must also include compassion or ‘malasakit’” said Fr. Anton, emphasizing the need for compassion as all living things are interdependent.




Much more effective solutions in food security: Sec. Montemayor

“Sustainability is equally affected by environmental degradation and the impact of climate change; on another angle, the rich/poor gap is also on the rise, where rural areas are being left out by rapid urbanization,” Montemayor pointed out.

Regarding food security, Sec. Montemayor urged the need to make food adequate and available through sustainable production, as well as proper eating habits, and the need to have accessibility through logistics. Transport, shipping, and distribution are all part of the value-chain to promote affordable food.

“Also in this light is the need to emphasize by-products which can be fashioned out of single crops, as well as the utilization of production systems such as jungle-slope technology, which are climate-smart,” he stressed.

“Let us also consider preparedness measures for extreme weather events; this includes that during disaster periods, the need to divert to alternative crops, and to have surveillance and quick response systems—of which we can be thankful this also takes place via crop insurance under CLIMBS. Additionally, let cooperatives explore feasible alternatives that can do away with middlemen and cartels,” he added.


Beneath an alarming scenario, weighing in on what coops can offer: Dr. Antequisa

“The worsening climate scenario is really alarming, yet this is an opportunity for cooperatives to explore what they can offer to combat this pressing dilemma,” began Dr. Antequisa, who also cited the power of cooperatives in terms of numbers: 18,524 operating ones, with 11 million members, and employing 513,000, with total assets of P512 billion and a net surplus of P22 billion—numbers of which, she agreed, can influence the government.

“One cannot always control natural events such as earthquakes, typhoons, and the like—yet we can address vulnerabilities such as poverty, hunger, education, public health, and disaster prevention to minimize these risks,” she pointed out, “and NAPC, in this regard, is helping out cooperatives that, in turn, can harness people power not only for profit but to balance it for the planet.”

Dr. Antequisa cited NAGPAKABANA MPC based in Catarman, Samar and CEPAGCO MSC Center for the Poor Agriculture Cooperative in CARAGA as exemplars of cooperatives with Climate related programs and projects like the Coastal Clean-up and Climate Education Program and food production centered on sustainable projects that is non-harmful to the planet.


Data consolidation still a must: Engr. Paraguya

The opening statement of Eng. Paraguya, emphasizes the identity of cooperatives focusing on self-reliance and sustainability. “The integrity of a cooperative as an autonomous and independent organization rests on the cooperative values of self-help, self-responsibility, and democracy that have been central to the cooperative identity since the emergence of sustainable cooperative enterprises in the 19th century.”

“The successes of early cooperators were achieved without any legislative support or financial assistance from the government. However, like these early pioneers, cooperatives in all parts of the world are still very much affected by their relationship with the state.”

“Yet there is a need for us to enhance autonomy with government support but not equate this with government control of cooperatives,” cautioned Engr. Paraguya.

Engr. Paraguya remained firm in the need for the movement to recognize the importance of data gathering and updating. She reasoned, “The large and medium cooperatives have supplied us with much of their data, yet there is a need for the micro-cooperatives to update theirs, and this is not that easy.

“We can be counted, we can participate, and our efforts will be recognized. Yet we need to have all the data with us so that we can present it to the government. What is needed to be counted can be done,” she summed up.





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