Friday, March 23, 2007

FICCO: 52nd General Assembly – Creating A Real Difference

With its forthright theme: “FICCO: Creating A Real Difference” is a well deserved title for the country’s leading open-community type multi-purpose cooperative. Amid political and economic situation in this careworn country sprout hope because of FICCO’s existence that is now unvaryingly stable with its upright leadership and noble volunteer’s stirred rural financial activity. They stand against all odds contributing to economic development and help make Mindanao a better place to live in.

General Assembly. The 4 days (Mar 3, 4, 10, & 11) or 2 weekends (Saturday’s and Sunday’s) finally ended and well attended by its members. A well-worthy commendation for the Board of Directors and volunteers that shared their time and effort for the GA’s success, to share a few of these noble sacrifices, on March 3 A.M. FICCO conducted 2 Assemblies simultaneously with one BOD group in Butuan (GA for Butuan) and the other BOD group in Camiguin (GA for Camiguin) and in the afternoon of March 3 the BOD group from Butuan traveled to Gingoog (GA for Gingoog and Balingoan) and the BOD group from Camiguin traveled to Villanueva (GA for Villanueva and Balingasag). In a glance, they were able to finished 4 general assemblies for 6 branches in March 3 alone. Needless to say a continuing assembly is in progress on the following day March 4 and on the next Saturday Mar 10 and finally March 11. Amazingly, this board of directors did not ask to be given “honorariums” for the whole 4 days activity.

Resolutions. At the conclusion of FICCO’s General Assembly there were 4 major resolutions approved and adopted for implementation. This includes: a.) A wider area of operation from Mindanao to the whole nation as its area of coverage; b.) An acceptance of associate members for flexible membership base catering the young and young adults not yet at legal age; c.) A Funeral Home Service new venture; and d.) A FICCO-Mutual Benefit Association (FICCO-MBA) also a new undertaking. On the other hand, the General Assembly approved FICCO’s desire for participation on the Party List System of Representation under the Party List of DAMGO which means Democratic Alliance of Mindanaoans for Good Governance.

Oath Taking Ceremony. The newly elected set of officers on the GA were able to took an oath of office, last March 17, 2007 in the morning, at the Xavier University, Little Theater and after the oath taking followed lunch and short acquaintance. In the afternoon an orientation was conducted for the members of the Audited and Inventory Committee (AIC), the Credit Committee, and the Election and Education Committee. This is concurrently done with the first Monthly Regular Board Meeting at the Xavier Canteen, Function Room.

The “Creation of a Real Difference” starts today. To the new set of officers comes now the real challenge, not on survival, neither tyranny nor oppression, but the battle to victor over the seal to make a difference, to serve the marginalize majority, and to pull the grassroots from the mud of poverty. Let us continue to shine the cooperative values and the ideology that we always speak of. Let us mutually respect each other. Let us help one another, and together let’s make a difference!!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Creating A Real Difference

That noble message in bold prominent letters was etched on the annual General Assembly reports as the dominant theme for 2007 of the industry’s number one and biggest open-community type multi-purpose cooperative. A quite bold and rightfully-deserved theme for a once insignificant credit union that now celebrates its 52nd year of existence.

How surprisingly refreshing to chance upon a little bright bloom from the current grisly mire of negativism pervading the social and political landscape of a beleaguered country teeming with punditry that caters in wholesale unproductive rhetoric about what is wrong with the country in particular, and with the rest of the world in general. Abundant postulations, prognostications, detailed analytical dismantling of most anything and everything seen, but with hardly any constructive prognoses and actuations that will begin to address the gargantuan concerns besetting the citizenry, on a case by each case, one person at a time basis.

Yet from very inauspicious beginnings in July 8, 1954, birthed as the ACCU (Ateneo Cooperative Credit Union) in the then idyllic city of Cagayan de Oro, located in Northern Mindanao, and commencing with share capital of only 26.30 pesos, this community uplift undertaking has blossomed into something that will stagger even the most vocal and virulent among those who peddle negativism daily in the local blogosphere.

This multipurpose cooperative, now famously known as FICCO (First Community Cooperative, and now designed and registered to serve the entire country) has metamorphosed in to an almost 2 billion peso organization, with about 90,000 members at the end of 2006; and forecasted to register in 2007 2.5 billion in assets and 110,333 members, with increases at 32% and 24% respectively.

And to illustrate the redoubtable clout and deep community penetration of this undertaking, it carried in its books total loans of 1.5 billion pesos at the end of 2006, and projected at about 2 billion pesos for 2007. It is good to note that for 2006 loan releases amounted to 2.1 billion pesos.

But is it profitable? Can regular folks – teachers, drivers, market vendors, small entrepreneurs, etc, be trusted not only to faithfully follow a savings regimen, but also be counted upon to make good on loan accommodations?

Suffice it to say that the cooperative has always been stellarly profitable, and the last year was no exception.

For 2006, it registered net surplus for distribution to the tune of 118 million pesos, 70% of which were distributed to members as interests for deposit accounts, dividends on share capital, and patronage refunds to loan clients. Typically, 95% of the 70% are devoted to interests and dividends, while 5% for patronage refunds.

It was therefore with eager anticipation that I had my passbooks updated after an absence and dormancy of accounts for over a year. Needless to state, the increments were rather substantial, definitely better than what one would get for funds invested in other private financial institutions.

As an active member of FICCO since the 70’s, one finds some difficulty being quiet and reticent about the effectiveness and feasibility of this collective effort in its avowed purposes aimed at poverty alleviation, with emphasis on both development of a propensity to save and the integrity and mature commitment in discharging responsibilities with regard to credit accommodations.

As an equivalent shout at the rooftops, one cannot imagine the cluelessness and seeming ignorance of many pundits, government technocrats, and even in your typical highly-intelligent but dismally reality-aware pundits who ceaselessly harangue the blogosphere with endless rhetoric about what is wrong with the country and what should be done according to their idealized analyses.

Duh! Slow down and smell the coffee. You, too, may be able to participate in something constructive however puny or powerless one may feel about the overwhelmingly pervasive poverty conditions of the country. It is never that utterly hopeless. Most times meaningful solutions are within arm’s length of most everybody.

It does require great humility, and some real sweat equity, to climb down from one’s high perch of empty rhetoric, down to the levels of real actions, sometimes dirty, or insignificant or inconsequential, and do not derive much public notice to stoke one’s egotistical designs.

My exhortation? Contribute toward creating a real difference. In your own little ways.


The weekend dated March 11th witnessed the 11th and final general assembly comprising the members of the cooperative banking with the main office, held in a cavernous gym in the city’s polytechnic school. It was a rather well-attended affair which proudly reflected the over 10,000 main office clients.

For the sake of convenience and to accommodate the over 90,000 members scattered throughout many areas of Mindanao, it has been deemed proper after all these many years to hold different general assembly meetings in different locations. A truly admirable concept to bring cooperativism wherever it is needed.

And now fully cognizant of its economic clout, which saw loan releases for the past year far exceeding those granted by any financial institutions in the area, the organization is poised to exert some political clout through the party-list system of representation which has become commonplace in the country. Imagine getting some representation in the national body of congress to promote and protect the interests of cooperatives and credit unions. Unable to seek recognition of its own sectoral representation for the current election cycle, the cooperative has decided to focus on throwing support for one already duly recognized – The Democratic Alliance of Mindanaoans for Good Governance, or DAMGO, the Bisayan term for dream.

Democracy being a rather unpredictable and at times messy affair, the assembly which was scheduled from 8 am to 12 noon went way passed schedule; and though the gym felt like it was filled to the rafters, scores of people milled outside. The much-awaited climax for the affair was the distribution of dividends which was purposely left as the last item for the agenda. And getting almost 11% p.a. for one’s investments was well worth the wait.

(This is a repost original message by Amadeo through his permission)

Interest on Share, Subject to Income Tax But not Subject to Withholding Tax and VAT

(BIR Ruling DA 075-05, dated March 19, 2005)

The share of the owner-members in the net surplus of the cooperative is income and subject to income tax . However, the share of its members in the net surplus is not subject to withholding tax because it is not one of those income payments subject to withholding tax under RR 2-98, as amended. furthermore it is not compensation income and is, therefore, not subject to withholding tax on compensation, because it does not represent remuneration for services performed by an employee for his employer under an employer-employee relationship. It is also not a professional or talent fee and the owner-member of the cooperative are not contractors. Neither is it one of those income payments subject to final withholding tax. Moreover, the share of the owner-members in the service surplus does not constitute a sale, barter or exchange of goods or services and is therefore, not subject to value added tax"

Friday, March 2, 2007

Party List Accredited by COMELEC (Partial)

The link below points to partial list of accredited party list by COMELEC as of February 12, 2007

Party List Partial list. Here

A Responsible Vote

Who will you Vote? The coming May 14, 2007, we vote for Twelve (12) senatorial seats from the Eighty (80) aspiring senatorial candidates in the country. Incumbents, former lawmakers, and new aspirants race for the three (3) year seats in the upper house purposely to make our country a better place to live in.

A call for responsible voting is what we in the cooperative sector always long for. So who are we voting? Should we endorse a candidate? A responsible vote is one not sold for a penny offers by some candidates. A responsible vote is cast to candidate with integrity, you’ll know who, read the papers, watch TV, and use every resource we have to know our bets.

Are you going to vote for artist? Are you going to vote for incumbents? Are you going to vote for someone you don’t know? Well to guide you here are some tips to voter’s:

  1. Decide what issues matter to you and what qualities you want to see in your candidate
  2. Learn everything you can about the candidates
  3. Do you agree with what the candidates stand for?
  4. What kind of leader will each candidate be?
  5. Review the info you have and decide.

Someone whisper from my back. Ask yourself a question “Does the candidate let go of his Pork Barrel?”

Remember your vote will make or inflict more damage to our ailing economy.