Friday, October 14, 2016

DUTERTE GOV'T URGED ON CO-OPS





House leader urged Duterte gov’t

 to support coop development

Increase CDA budget, pass

pro-coop policies and legislations





QUEZON CITY --Deputy Minority Leader and Coop-NATCCO Partylist representative Anthony Bravo urged the Duterte administration to implement a comprehensive policy framework towards the growth and sustainability of cooperatives.



In a privilege speech delivered Tuesday, October 11, 2016 at the House of Representatives, in time with the commemoration of the National Cooperative Month, Bravo assured the government that the cooperative sector will gladly participate in the drive towards poverty reduction.



Citing data of the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA), Bravo takes pride of the 26,243 cooperatives with total membership of 13.7 Million, spread in 18 regions, as a significant partner of the Duterte government in achieving its 10-point Socio-Economic Agenda.



“The cooperative sector has huge potentials to uplift the quality of life of Filipinos and to contribute to the social transformation and nation building,” he said.



Bravo informed the members of the House of Representatives of the role of cooperatives in empowering Filipinos, especially the most vulnerable sectors such as the farmers, fisherfolks, women, youth and persons-with-disabilities, by giving them opportunities to participate in economic activities.



He likewise imparted how cooperatives contribute to the economy of the country. He said that as per data of the CDA, the cooperative sector employs 520,758 Filipinos and has generated 1,923,047 indirect employment. The sector also helps in tax collection efforts of the government, withholding taxes amounting to P3.9 Billion as of 2015.



Despite the collective efforts of the sector to ensure the viability of cooperatives by addressing concerns on access to capital, networking and linkages, and improvement of coop governance, Bravo said the sector is currently facing a number of challenges that need to be addressed through effective policies.



Among the issues he mentioned were: 1) majority of the cooperatives are micro and small, 2) cooperatives find it difficult to secure Certificate of Tax Exemption from Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), 3) there is imminent threat to repeal the tax exemption privilege of cooperatives, and 4) the lack of budget for the CDA. The proposed budget for the agency for 2017 is P429-M which the lawmaker from Sorsogon wanted to increase by at least P200-M as it is not enough to fund CDA's programs.



To address these challenges, the deputy minority leader then proposed various strategies and policy recommendations, to wit:



1. He called on President Duterte to strengthen the CDA through infusion of budget support and to appoint a Presidential Adviser for Cooperatives.

2. He appealed to Congress to support inclusion in the General Appropriations Bill for FY 2017 of the proposed amendments to the General Provisions and Special Provisions for various agencies such as DENR, DA, PCA, NIA, DSWD and DTI on the preferential treatment of cooperatives. Bravo earlier proposed that cooperatives be allocated at least 15% in the procurement and programs of these agencies.

3. He encouraged Congress to pass a legislation that will warrant the creation of a cooperative apex body.

4. He likewise encouraged Congress to pass Coop-NATCCO’s proposed legislations such as the Cooperative Development Charter Act , Mandatory appointment of coop officers in every local government unit, Coop representation in Board of the Landbank of the Philippines and Cooperative Banking Act.

5. He proposed to strengthen agricultural cooperatives, farmers and fisherfolks, by providing free irrigation services and higher indemnity rates for crop insurance.

6. He called on Congress to investigate the non-compliance of the BIR to the provisions of RA 9520 Philippine Cooperative Code and its Implementing Rules and Regulations.

7. He opposed the move to repeal the coop tax exemption and called on Congress to scrap the specific provision in the Rationalization of Fiscal Incentives Bill.

The congressman from the cooperative sector manifested the willingness of the sector to partner with government in fighting poverty, to make sure that the goal of the Duterte administration to take nine million Filipinos out of poverty when its term ends in 2022 is realized.

Officials and employees of CDA along with cooperative leaders from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao were present during the speech of the Congressman.#

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