Wednesday, May 22, 2013
WHO IS THE COOPERATIVES' CHAMPION IN THE 16TH SENATE?
In the House of Representatives more specifically, in the coming 16th Congress we all know the legislative advocates for the cooperative movement. There are the cooperative party list groups like Coop Natcco, Ating Koop, or Butil Farmers Party, among others.
But in the Senate, who among the oldtimers and the newcomers can we claim as our cooperatives champion? Did you hear of any then senatorial candidate (who now made it to the Senate) who said they will spouse the cooperative movement's cause.
MIGS ZUBIRI, OUT
Of course, there was former Sen. Migz Zubiri, but he did not make it.
What about Bam Aquino? If I got it correctly, he was rooting for microfinance institutions, as his experience with his Hapinoy's sari-sari storeowner-nanays will bear out. But, from where I seat, there is a great, world of difference between microfinance institutions and cooperatives.
As we recall, even the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has adopted its own microfinance advocacy through its regulated rural banks/thrift banks.
HOW MANY MICROFINANCE
In some press reports, the Asian Development Bank was quoted as saying that as of April 1, 2013, there are now some 200 banks involved in microfinance, with some 2,000 microfinance institutions servicing some 7 million microfinance clients nationwide.
On the other hand, the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) reports that there are over 23,000 registered cooperatives nationwide, reportedly with over 11 million members.
So, microfinance institutions are a different kind. Like cooperatives, they may dispense small loans, but most of them, if not all, are owned by capitalists, while cooperatives are owned and controlled by its members-consumers. What a big difference, I might say.
MAYBE, JV EJERCITO?
Anyway, the only senator-elect now that I personally heard, even before the elections, advocating for cooperatives was then Rep. Joseph Victor (JV) Ejercito, who was then representing San Juan.
He was guest of honor during the "Convergence of Cooperative Development Councils in Luzon," held last August 28, 2012 at Club Filipino.
He urged the some 132 participants from various Cooperative Development Council from Luzon to use the "San Juan economic miracle", as he called it, in strengthening the CDCs' own roles in local development.
1ST MUNICIPAL CO-OP
San Juan City, where Senator-elect JV Ejercito also served as mayor, reportedly was the first Local Government Unit to have established a municipal cooperative development office , according to the records of the CDA.
So, here is hoping that he could serve as a cooperative champion in the Senate. So, there. (END).