Sunday, August 11, 2013
SORRY, SEN. BAM, CO-OPS ARE PHL'S BIGGEST SOCIAL ENTERPRISES!
It's not Gawad Kalinga (GK). Not the microfinance institutions (MIs). Not even Hapinoy, or all of these combined.
I'm sorry to disagree big time with the reported assertion of the Hon. Sen. Paolo Benigno "Bam" Aquino, that it is GK, as the "largest social enterprise or NGO (non-government organization) in the Philippines."
OF SEN. BAM AQUINO
I was blissfully reading a Manila Bulletin feature/interview with the good senator ("Senator Paolo Benigno "Bam" Aquino: The Rookie", Aug. 11, 2013) and the quote caught my attention.
Here is the newspaper quote:
"...For example, GK, which is the largest social enterprise or NGO in the Philippines, they reach out to 2,000 communities. That is a lot.."
"But there are 44,000 barangays. So, how do we help them to go from 2,000 to 44,000. In the microfinance sector, there are 4.5 million Filipinos who are now able to access capital..."
"..But there are 25 million poorest of the poor. So, kahit marami na sila, to be able to grow, kailangan ng polisiya behind it. There needs to be a law behind it.." (End of quotes).
Contrary to Sen. Bam's reported claim, I strongly believe that the cooperatives are the biggest social enterprises in the Philippines.
What is a social enterprise anyway?
Wikipedia defines it as "an organization that applies commercial strategies to maximize improvements in human and environmental well-being rather than maximizing profits for external shareholders."
This definition fits many organizations, but nothing like how it fits cooperatives.
Indeed, I have no beef against microfinance institutions, corporate foundations-NGOs and other businesses doing "social enterprise." We all need them. Every little bit helps.
What I am trying to say is the cooperatives, by their sheer number, membership, assets and performance are the biggest social enterprises in the country.
LIMITED BANKS DOING
Despite the adoption of microfinance advocacies by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, there are still only limited number of banks who are accredited and actually engaged in microfinance.
I was just quite amazed that Sen. Bam did not even mention cooperatives among the social enterprise institutions he talked about. It is hard not to see them (cooperatives).
There are some 22,000 cooperatives or so now registered with the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) under the Philippine Cooperative Code of 2008 (R.A. 9520). There were as much as 4 times more prior to R.A. 9520.
Cooperatives have almost 12 million individual members.
Their self-raised capital is in billions, their assets much more. And their combined contribution to the country's Gross Domestic Product is quite formidable.
Why did not Sen. Bam factor in cooperatives in his microenterpreneurship/social enterprise equation?
And more. unlike some microfinance institutions; corporate foundations-NGOs, or even perhaps Hapinoy or GK, cooperatives, as social enterprise are owned and capitalized by their member-customers.
Not only that, they are managed and controlled by their members. Cooperatives are primarily for service to their members and the community. And whatever surpluses there may be in their operations are distributed and equitably shared with the cooperatives' members. A true democracy in action.
And if anyone (hopefully it will include Sen. Bam) is looking for vehicles of inclusive growth cooperatives are it.
I am a bit dissapointed about this small oversight by some well-meaning people.
What about you? What do you think? Your comments are welcome. (END).