STRIKE HOME| Model cooperatives hogging the limelight

ONE CONSTANT that has not changed since 20 years ago has been the sustained but low-key effort of the cooperative movement in the Davao provinces in taking on poverty with flying colors.

I refer, of course, to the top 20 cooperatives in the Davao provinces that have weathered the storm through thick and thin as a matter of saying and in the process, helped trigger the economy in their communities.

All of these cooperatives have each a story to tell. All of them can make an excellent feature story.

One surprise is the Pantukan Chess Club Cooperative which I recalled was set up by a group of chess players and tricycle drivers in Pantukan town in 1993.

I did a story on this cooperative in 1994 for the defunct Today newspaper owned by Teddy Boy Locsin (now ambassador to the United Nations) and if memory served me right, the prime movers of this cooperative wanted to shake off the influence and hold of loan sharks.

It seemed that judging by what the Cooperative Development Authority has provided me, this co-op has not only been more than successful but has apparently surprised all doubters by even making it to the top 20 list of performing cooperatives in the Davao provinces, 20 years after.

Based on CDA data, this cooperative is No. 17 in terms of paid-up capital at P76,392,866, No. 20 in total assets with P267,444,872, No. 15 in net surplus with P14,748,093 and No. 14 in volume of business with P324,053,028

The list of course is topped by Tagum Cooperative that is ranked first in all four categories (paid-up capital, total assets, net surplus and volume of business).

According to the CDA, the common denominator among all the successful cooperatives has been their ability to provide and to sustain the required manpower in running the cooperative as well as in recruiting the required number of members.

Management-wise, of course, their successes boiled down to sound fiscal management and good governance.

The Tagum Coop with a P4-billion asset is the first to make it to the billionaire’s club. But according to the CDA, the Agdao Multi-Purpose Cooperative (Davao City) has already surpassed the P1 billion mark, while the USPD Credit cooperative in Digos City and the Panabo Multi-purpose cooperative are all set to join the exclusive club sooner than expected.

All together with the other cooperatives who are helping trigger the economy in their communities, these cooperatives are the unsung heroes in helping reduce, not alleviate poverty.

There has always been strength in numbers and if numbers translate into economic enterprises such as cooperatives, the results can be plentiful and varied.

The diversification that Tagum co-op decided upon is only to be expected given its phenomenal growth.

By all means, the cooperative movement will remain a permanent fixture in the landscape for so long as people realize the need to pool their resources, regardless of social standing, rank and profession.

In fact, one of the top 20 performing cooperatives is the Police Regional Office 11 multi-purpose cooperative which was set up by police personnel and employees. Its strong performance indicates it too is a cinch to join the billionaire’s club in a matter of years.

These successful cooperatives show that the Davao provinces, occasionally in the headlines for violence and mayhem, is also a place for development and grassroots initiatives.

Posted in Opinion