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Monday, March 1, 2010

#109 ATING KOOP

First, we were No. 24. Then, when new party list groups won their case in the Supreme Court, we moved up to No. 29. In the final list issued by COMELEC last 25 February 2010, ATING KOOP is listed as No. 109.

Only One, and make it No. 109

There are more than 180 party list groups that COMELEC allowed to run in the May 2010 election. But a qualified voter can vote for only one party list. We urge you to shade or blacken No. 109 and that is our party list, the ATING KOOP.

Why ATING KOOP?

There are many reasons why we have to work hard for ATING KOOP to win three seats in Congress. Here are the most important –

o ATING KOOP, upholding real coop values, espouses transformational governance. No to transactional, patronage politics! No to distribution of pork barrel based on votes delivered! No to cash in paper bags!
o ATING KOOP fights for initiatives that will cooperativize public utilities like water supply, electric power distribution, etc. as a tool for redistributing wealth to the grassroots.
o ATING KOOP fights for tax and other incentives that will level the playing field for grassroots institutions and initiatives.
o ATING KOOP promotes undertakings that will strengthen the whole coop movement, e.g. training of coop people and computerization, networking of all coops that will facilitate banking, remittance and other transactions of members.

An equally important reason for supporting ATING KOOP is to prove to ourselves that there is such thing as a ‘coop vote.’ Our lives were transformed through the economic and social access that our coops provided. Let this transformation be confidence builder and move us to decry the ways of governance we witness today.

The economic and social benefits we now enjoy are negated by the blatant disregard of good governance principles by most public officials and institutions. Let our solid coop vote for ATING KOOP be a warning shot to those who put greed in the altar of their lives. Let our votes for ATING KOOP also become a shout “Tama na! Sobra na! Ituwid na!”

Please remember: It is not enough to just vote for No. 109 ATING KOOP party list. Let us also work hard to campaign within our circle of influence (family members, relatives, neighbours, friends, co-workers, fellow association members) so that ATING KOOP will win three seats in Congress.

Ating Koop: Hiniusang singgit alang sa kausaban!

Dunot o bulok ang atong matang sa politika, nga gisakyan pa gayod sa mga bulok usab nga mga lider. Sa panahon sa kampanya, haring lungsod ang ilang tawag kanato. Kon makahupot na sa gahom, sila na ang gahari-hari, hinikalimtan ang lungsod.
Sayon kini mahitabo kay gitugotan man nato. Ang atong walay pagpakabana sa ilang mga hiwing binuhatan, mihatag kanilag lisensya sa pag-abuso sa puesto. Ang atong pagpakahilom sa ilang kalapasan, miaghat kanila sa pagbaliwala sa ilang gipanumpaang responsibilidad. Mga national man nga mga lider (Marcos, Estrada, GMA) o mga local nga opisyales, ilang gihimo ang ilang mga nahimo kay wala man kita mobarog sa atong katungod.
Sa atong pagbaligya sa atong boto, o sa atong pagpangayo/pagdawat sa hinabang gikan niining mga mapahimuslanong politiko, atong gisalikway ang atong katungod mga mangayog husay sa ilang binuhatan sa paghupot sa gahom.
Kon gusto kitag kausaban, niining piniliay sa Mayo 2010 gikinahanglan ang atong madasigong panginlabot. Atong ipakita nga ang tinuod nga gahom sa demokrasya nagagikan sa hiniusang kusog sa katawhan.
Among giaghat ang tanan sa pagpamalandong kon kinsa ang angayan mohupot sa renda sa pangagamhanan. Ayaw pahaylo sa mga matam-is nga saad, o sa mga pasalig nga tingusbawan. Tan-awa kon kini nga mga politiko wala ba migamit sa ilang puesto aron pagpalambo sa ilang negosyo o pagpatambok sa ilang bulsa.
Giaghat usab ang tanan sa pagpaningkamot nga modaug ang Ating Koop Party List. Gawas sa imong sakop sa pamilya, hangyo-a usab ang imong mga higala, kaubanan, silingan, kauban sa buhat o kapunongan sa pagboto usab sa Ating Koop. Sa talaan sa COMELEC, ang Adhikaing Tinataguyod ng Kooperatiba (Ating Koop) ika-numero 29.
Lahi karon ang sistema sa pagbotar. Tanang mga kandidato, gikan sa pagka presidente, vice-presidente, senador, ngadto sa pagka kagawad sa dakbayan o lungsod, nalista sa balota. Ang himoon lang sa botante mao ang pag “shade” o “blacken” sa lingin o circulo (O) nga naa mahimutang una (before) sa ngalan sa kandidato nga gusto mo iboto. Pananglitan, ang gusto mo iboto pagka presidente si Noynoy Aquino, imong ituman (blacken) ang lingin nga nag-una/abay sa pangalan Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino.
Mao gihapon sa Party List. Adunay 144 ka mga kandidato sa Party List, apan usa lang ang puede nimo botohan. Paghuman nimo pag “blacken” sa imong piliong presidente (usa lang ang i-blacken), vice president (usa ra usab), senador (maximum sa 12), adto dayon sa ika-29 nga Party List. Itumi (blacken) dayon ang lingin abay sa Ating Koop. Palihog tudlo-i usab ang sakop sa imong pamilya, higala, kaubanan, silingan, kauban sa buhat o kapunongan sa bag-ong sistema sa pagbotar. Ayaw hikalimti pag aghat kanila sa pag “blacken” sa ika-29 nga lingin nga mao ang Ating Koop.
Ang Ating Koop maoy tumong ang paghaw-as sa mga kabus sa kalisdanan pinaagi sa Kooperatiba. Moasdang kini sa mga balaod-non nga magpalig-on sa kooperatiba ug sa mga kalihokan nga makatabang sa mga kabus. Ang Ating Koop dili makipagnegosasyon o makipagtransaksyon sa mga hut-ong nga maoy tinguha ang pagpalambo lang sa interes sa pipila.
Ang boto alang sa Ating Koop usa ka singgit nga husto na! Bag-ohon na ang matang sa politika. Ang boto sa Ating Koop boto alang sa kalamboan sa kinabag-an. Ang boto sa Ating Koop pagpatigbabaw sa “transformational politics.” Ang boto sa Ating Koop mao ang paghunahuna sa kaugmaon sa atong nasud ug sa atong mga anak.

Unsay kaugmaon sa atong mga anak?

Piniliay na usab! Wala pa gani magsugod ang “campaign period,” mibaha na sa atong radyo ug telebisyon ang mga propaganda sa mga politiko. Kon tuohan ta kining ilang propaganda, bisan kinsa kanila makadala gayod sa atong nasud ngadto sa kalamboan.
Apan dili ba nga sa miaging piniliay, ang susama nga mga pasalig ato na man nadungog? Hain na man ang ilang mga gisaad? Nganong mas lisod man ang atong kahimtang karon kon itandi sa atong kahimtang niadtong dekada 90?
Simple lang ang tubag sa maong mga pangutana: 90% sa mga politiko dili manuko sa pag-ilad kanato. Ang ila lang kaugalingon interes ang ilang ipatigbabaw kon sila makahupot na sa gahom. Dili na kinahanglan mohatag og kwenta o husay sa ilang pagpangagamhanan ubos sa katarungan nga gibayran na ang kinabag-an kanato dihang midawat kita sa salapi isip bugti sa atong boto. Kanang mga hinabang, sama sa lungon, pa ospital, tambal, ug uban pa, paagi kana sa pagpalit sa boto. Sa ato pa nabayran ka na. Ayaw na pangita og performance.
Apan dili ba nga ang kwarta nga ilang gigamit sa pagpalit sa boto kinawkaw ra man gihapon sa pundo sa gobierno? Buhis ra gihapon sa katawhan. Mibati kitag utang kabubot-on sa mga politiko nga mitabang kanato, pero ang kwarta nga ilang gigamit gikan ra gihapon sa buhis nga atong gibayad. Mas daku pa man gani ang mipaingon sa ilang bulsa kay sa ilang gigamit paghaylo sa atong suporta.
Aduna pa bay paglaum aron mahaw-as kita gikan sa kuko niining mga mapahimuslanong politiko? Makabaton pa kaha kita og mga lider nga gahunahuna sa kaayohan sa kinabag-an? Gihagit namo ang tanan sa pagpamalandong sa dili pa mopili kon kinsa ang botohan karong Mayo 10, 2010. Tubaga kining mga mosunod nga pangutana isip gabayan sa pagpili:
1. Kon kini nga politiko nakahupot na og posisyon, unsa man ang iyang nahimo? Hapsay ba ang pamaagi o sistema sa iyang administrasyon? Migamit ba siya sa gahom o koneksyon aron maka pabor ang iyang negosyo (e.g. BW resources stock trading o C5 road funding)? Giipit ba ang mga negosyo sa kontra partido ug naghatag og pabor ngadto sa mga malakas?
2. Kini nga lider aduna bay “political will”? Sa atong pinulongan adunay bay “bayag” nga mapatuman ang balaod sa walay pagpihig. Nagpabuta-buta ra ba kini sa mga kalapasan sa iyang mga kauban sa partido (e.g. armas sa mga Ampatuan)? Hapsay ba ang dagan sa trapiko o nagtugot ba nga bisan asa lang muhonong ang mga sakyanan, o mopiyong lang sa mga paglapas sa mga balaod trapiko?
3. Pabor ba kini nga politiko sa mga lihok nga maghatag og ekonomikanhong kusog sa kinabag-an? Pananglitan, pabor ba kini nga politiko nga himoong kooperatiba ang sistema sa panubig o water district sa inyong dapit? O supak ba siya kay mawad-an na unya siya og milking cow ug kaloklokang posisyon sa iyang mga bata-bata?
4. Nangita ba siya og pamaagi nga makadani og mga negosyo nga mapundar sa atong lugar aron makabaton og trabaho ang katawhan? O naninguha ba hinoun siya nga kilkilan ang kinsa man nga negosyante nga musolod sa iyang teritoryo? (e.g. Hanjin shipbuilding project.)
5. Nagtuo ba kini nga lider nga siya lang ug ang iyang pamilya ang may katakus ug katungod nga mohupot sa renda sa pangagamhanan (practitioner of political dynasty)? Kini nga mga klase sa politiko hakog sa gahom ug mao ray gilantaw ang pagpatambok sa ilang bulsa kon anaa na sa gahom.
6. Migasto ba og daku kini nga politiko sa iyang kampanya? Kinsa man karon sa mga milansad ang mipabaha sa propaganda diha sa radyo o telebisyon? Wala ba kamo makabantay nga adunay midagan karon sa pagka presidente nga sobra na sa tuig ang pagpangampanya? Ug karon nga haduol na ang eleksyon, mipabaha pa gayod sa walay bahar-bahar sa iyang propaganda. Pangutana: kon makadaug kini nga kandidato, ayaw ingna nga dili niya bawi-on ang daku niyang gasto diha sa mga transaksyon nga pabor sa iyang negosyo. Congressman o senador pa lang gani mikabat na man sa P 6.2 bilyones ang balor sa proyekto sa gobierno nga mibenipisyo sa iyang negosyo.
Ang pagbotar usa ka sagrado nga katungod. Gamita kini uban sa husto nga pagpamalandong. Ayaw ibugti kining sagrado nga katungod sa pipila lang ka pesos. Hunahunaa ang kaugmaon sa atong nasud, sa katawhang Pilipino. Huna-hunaa ang kaugmaon sa atong mga anak, ug sa ilang mga anak! (ibdaba 1/25/2010)

An Opportunity to Sow the Seeds of Change

Have you ever wondered why, despite the fact that we have leaders who proclaimed that they have “Galing at Talino” or “Sipag at Tiyaga,” or are proud to claim that “Ramdam (natin) ang Kaunlaran” or that they represent the power of the grassroots, as in “Pwersa ng Masa,” this country is in worse shape than it was ten years ago?

The explanation is simple. These so called leaders will tell us what we want to hear but will do what satisfies them, e.g. bloating their pockets with jueteng money or BW stock manipulations, or enter into deals like the ZTE-NBN, fertilizer scams, or obtain onerous deals for them or the businesses of their padrinos. Screwing us is what they have been up to all these times, remembering us only come election time. These leaders believed that if they will inundate media with self-proclaimed achievements, reinforced by the pronouncements of media commentators under their pockets, we will forget what they have earlier promised us.

Democracy’s strength lies in the people making informed choices, especially in selecting who will represent them in government. We members of FICCO, as well as other Coops who support ATING KOOP Party-List, will now have a unique opportunity to actively participate in pursuing change.

COMELEC’s approval of ATING KOOP accreditation as a national sectoral Party-List offers us a chance to sow the seeds of change in our body politic. If we succeed in electing three (3) ATING-KOOP representatives in congress, we will have the venue to espouse the values we hold dear in our coops. Values such as self reliance, mutual help, unity, sacrifice, volunteerism, prudence in the use of resources and exercise of power, transparency, accountability, good governance, democratic participation, and many others are what made our coops grow and become instruments in economic and social transformation. We hope, that through ATING KOOP, the same values will also trigger the political transformation that this country needs.

Obtaining COMELEC approval was not easy, more so with the opposition of Coop NATCCO Party-List. The opposition is a sad testament to the quality of leadership of the coop movement in this country. Instead of being happy that Coops will have more representation, Coop NATCCO believed that only them should represent the aspirations of the country’s cooperatives. With the way Coop NATCCO tried to convince coops to support its cause, one cannot help but wonder if coop values can trigger transformation, or is it just another good intention being gobbled up by the prevailing political culture that entrenched transactional politics.

The next hurdle will be to obtain the votes for ATING KOOP. We are thus challenging all members of FICCO, as well as other Coops that support ATING KOOP: let us convince all our relatives, friends, co-workers and neighbors to vote for ATING-KOOP. If we want the seeds of change sowed in Congress, let us spare no effort in making sure that ATING KOOP will have the maximum three representatives.

And if success awaits us this coming May 2010, let us continue to be vigilant making sure our representatives tow the party line and will not be among those who will receive payolas in paper bags.

MABUHAY ang ATING KOOP! (ibdaba, 23 November 2009)

I will tap my circle of influence for Ating Koop

We the supporters of Ating Koop Party List are neophytes. Ating Koop has no political machinery that can rival the precint level organizations of the traditional parties. It has also no pork barrel generated funds to distribute to would be supporters, in the manner an incumbent Party List group for Coops is doing.

But in lieu of a well-oiled party machinery, it has a network of well-meaning cooperatives, with value-laden cooperative leaders and members. What it lacks in logistics and political savvy is easily made up by an enthusiasm emanating from an idealistic belief that change can happen in this country if its people will have a collective change of heart. A change that will internalize the time-honored coop values of sacrifice, self-reliance, good governance, volunteerism, democratic participation, social responsibility, and prudent use of resources.

I believe in these coop values. I believe these made our coop successful and can be put to working use in a wider forum. I believe in Ating Koop.

So I will make use of my own personal “network,” tap my own circle of influence. This would include:

a) Immediate family: (parents, spouse, children, househelp)

b) Relatives: (siblings, nephews/nieces, aunts/uncles, grandchildren, and their spouses, their children, their children’s spouses, and their grandchildren)

c) In-Laws: (parents, sons/daughters and their parents and siblings, brothers/sisters and their spouses and children)

d) Friends: (co-workers and their spouses and children, and friends and their spouses, children, relatives and friends)

e) Associations, groups, clubs where I belong.

And though I may have hundreds of relatives and friends, I will focus only on those whom I actually have influence on, who would share my belief that our coop values can precipitate change in this country. I will discuss with them the merits of the Ating Koop party list. I will urge them to vote for Ating Koop.

I challenge you to do the same. Let us have the audacity to hope for and to actually work for change. (Pauline R, 27 January 2010)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

DUMAGUETE CATHEDRAL CREDIT COOPERATIVE [DCCCO] VS. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE

Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION
G.R. No. 182722

DUMAGUETE CATHEDRAL CREDIT COOPERATIVE [DCCCO], Represented by Felicidad L. Ruiz, its
General Manager, Petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, Respondent.

D E C I S I O N

DEL CASTILLO, J.:
The clashing interests of the State and the taxpayers are again pitted against each other. Two basic principles, the State’s inherent power of taxation and its declared policy of fostering the creation and growth of cooperatives come into play. However, the one that embodies the spirit of the law and the true intent of the legislature prevails. This Petition for Review on Certiorari under Section 11 of Republic Act (RA) No. 9282,1 in relation to Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, seeks to set aside the December 18, 2007 Decision2 of the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA),
ordering petitioner to pay deficiency withholding taxes on interest from savings and time deposits of its members for taxable years 1999 and 2000, pursuant to Section 24(B)(1) of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997 (NIRC), as well as the delinquency interest of 20% per annum under Section 249(C) of the same Code. It also assails the April 11, 2008 Resolution3 denying petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration.

Factual Antecedents

Petitioner Dumaguete Cathedral Credit Cooperative (DCCCO) is a credit cooperative duly registered with and regulated by the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA).4 It was established on February 17, 19685 with the following objectives and purposes: (1) to increase the income and purchasing power of the members; (2) to pool the resources of the members by encouraging savings and promoting thrift to mobilize capital formation for development activities; and (3) to extend loans to members for provident and productive purposes.6 It has the power (1) to draw, make, accept, endorse, guarantee, execute, and issue promissory notes, mortgages, bills of exchange, drafts, warrants, certificates and all kinds of obligations and instruments in connection with and in furtherance of its business operations; and (2) to issue bonds, debentures, and other obligations; to contract indebtedness; and to secure the same with a mortgage or deed of trust, or pledge or lien on any or all of its real and personal properties.7

On November 27, 2001, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Operations Group Deputy Commissioner, Lilian B. Hefti, issued Letters of Authority Nos. 63222 and 63223, authorizing BIR Officers Tomas Rambuyon and Tarcisio Cubillan of Revenue Region No. 12, Bacolod City, to examine petitioner’s books of accounts and other accounting records for all internal revenue taxes for the taxable years 1999 and 2000.8

Proceedings before the BIR Regional Office

On June 26, 2002, petitioner received two Pre-Assessment Notices for deficiency withholding taxes for taxable years 1999 and 2000 which were protested by petitioner on July 23, 2002.9 Thereafter, on October 16, 2002, petitioner received two other Pre-Assessment Notices for deficiency withholding taxes also for taxable years 1999 and 2000.10 The deficiency withholding taxes cover the payments of the honorarium of the Board of Directors, security and janitorial services, legal and professional fees, and interest on savings and time deposits of its
members.

On October 22, 2002, petitioner informed BIR Regional Director Sonia L. Flores that it would only pay the deficiency withholding taxes corresponding to the honorarium of the Board of Directors, security and janitorial services, legal and professional fees for the year 1999 in the amount of P87,977.86, excluding penalties and interest.11

In another letter dated November 8, 2002, petitioner also informed the BIR Assistant Regional Director, Rogelio B. Zambarrano, that it would pay the withholding taxes due on the honorarium and per diems of the Board of Directors, security and janitorial services, commissions and legal & professional fees for the year 2000 in the amount of P119,889.37, excluding penalties and interest, and that it would avail of the Voluntary Assessment and Abatement Program (VAAP) of the BIR under Revenue Regulations No. 17-2002.12

On November 29, 2002, petitioner availed of the VAAP and paid the amounts of P105,574.62 and P143,867.2413 corresponding to the withholding taxes on the payments for the compensation, honorarium of the Board of Directors, security and janitorial services, and legal and professional services, for the years 1999 and 2000, respectively.

On April 24, 2003, petitioner received from the BIR Regional Director, Sonia L. Flores, Letters of Demand Nos. 00027-2003 and 00026-2003, with attached Transcripts of Assessment and Audit Results/Assessment Notices, ordering petitioner to pay the deficiency withholding taxes, inclusive of penalties, for the years 1999 and 2000 in the amounts of P1,489,065.30 and P1,462,644.90, respectively.14

Proceedings before the Commissioner of Internal Revenue

On May 9, 2003, petitioner protested the Letters of Demand and Assessment Notices with the Commissioner ofInternal Revenue (CIR).15 However, the latter failed to act on the protest within the prescribed 180-day period.
Hence, on December 3, 2003, petitioner filed a Petition for Review before the CTA, docketed as C.T.A. Case No.6827.16

Proceedings before the CTA First Division

The case was raffled to the First Division of the CTA which rendered its Decision on February 6, 2007, disposing of the case in this wise:

IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the Petition for Review is hereby PARTIALLY GRANTED. Assessment Notice Nos. 00026-2003 and 00027-2003 are hereby MODIFIED and the assessment for deficiency withholding taxes on the honorarium and per diems of petitioner’s Board of Directors, security and janitorial services, commissions and legal and professional fees are hereby CANCELLED. However, the assessments for deficiency withholding taxes
on interests are hereby AFFIRMED.

Accordingly, petitioner is ORDERED TO PAY the respondent the respective amounts of P1,280,145.89 and P1,357,881.14 representing deficiency withholding taxes on interests from savings and time deposits of its members for the taxable years 1999 and 2000. In addition, petitioner is ordered to pay the 20% delinquency interest from May 26, 2003 until the amount of deficiency withholding taxes are fully paid pursuant to Section 249 (C) of the Tax Code.

SO ORDERED.17

Dissatisfied, petitioner moved for a partial reconsideration, but it was denied by the First Division in its Resolution
dated May 29, 2007.18

Proceedings before the CTA En Banc

On July 3, 2007, petitioner filed a Petition for Review with the CTA En Banc,19 interposing the lone issue of whether or not petitioner is liable to pay the deficiency withholding taxes on interest from savings and time deposits of its members for taxable years 1999 and 2000, and the consequent delinquency interest of 20% per annum.20

Finding no reversible error in the Decision dated February 6, 2007 and the Resolution dated May 29, 2007 of the CTA First Division, the CTA En Banc denied the Petition for Review21 as well as petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration.22

The CTA En Banc held that Section 57 of the NIRC requires the withholding of tax at source. Pursuant thereto, Revenue Regulations No. 2-98 was issued enumerating the income payments subject to final withholding tax, among which is "interest from any peso bank deposit and yield, or any other monetary benefit from deposit substitutes and from trust funds and similar arrangements x x x". According to the CTA En Banc, petitioner’s business falls under the phrase "similar arrangements;" as such, it should have withheld the corresponding 20%

Issue

Hence, the present recourse, where petitioner raises the issue of whether or not it is liable to pay the deficiency withholding taxes on interest from savings and time deposits of its members for the taxable years 1999 and 2000, as well as the delinquency interest of 20% per annum.

Petitioner’s Arguments

Petitioner argues that Section 24(B)(1) of the NIRC which reads in part, to wit:
SECTION 24. Income Tax Rates. —
x x x x
(B) Rate of Tax on Certain Passive Income: —
(1) Interests, Royalties, Prizes, and Other Winnings. — A final tax at the rate of twenty percent (20%) is hereby imposed upon the amount of interest from any currency bank deposit and yield or any other monetary benefit from deposit substitutes and from trust funds and similar arrangements; x x x

applies only to banks and not to cooperatives, since the phrase "similar arrangements" is preceded by terms referring to banking transactions that have deposit peculiarities. Petitioner thus posits that the savings and time deposits of members of cooperatives are not included in the enumeration, and thus not subject to the 20% final tax. To bolster its position, petitioner cites BIR Ruling No. 551-88823 and BIR Ruling [DA-591-2006]24 where the BIR ruled that interests from deposits maintained by members of cooperative are not subject to withholding tax
under Section 24(B)(1) of the NIRC. Petitioner further contends that pursuant to Article XII, Section 15 of the Constitution25 and Article 2 of Republic Act No. 6938 (RA 6938) or the Cooperative Code of the Philippines,26 cooperatives enjoy a preferential tax treatment which exempts their members from the application of Section 24(B)(1) of the NIRC.

Respondent’s Arguments

As a counter-argument, respondent invokes the legal maxim "Ubi lex non distinguit nec nos distinguere debemos" (where the law does not distinguish, the courts should not distinguish). Respondent maintains that Section 24(B)(1) of the NIRC applies to cooperatives as the phrase "similar arrangements" is not limited to banks, but includes cooperatives that are depositaries of their members. Regarding the exemption relied upon by petitioner, respondent adverts to the jurisprudential rule that tax exemptions are highly disfavored and construed strictissimi
juris against the taxpayer and liberally in favor of the taxing power. In this connection, respondent likewise points out that the deficiency tax assessments were issued against petitioner not as a taxpayer but as a withholding agent.

Our Ruling

The petition has merit.

Petitioner’s invocation of BIR Ruling No. 551-888, reiterated in BIR Ruling [DA-591-2006], is proper. On November 16, 1988, the BIR declared in BIR Ruling No. 551-888 that cooperatives are not required to withhold taxes on interest from savings and time deposits of their members. The pertinent BIR Ruling reads:

November 16, 1988

BIR RULING NO. 551-888
24 369-88 551-888

Gentlemen:

This refers to your letter dated September 5, 1988 stating that you are a corporation established
under P.D. No. 175 and duly registered with the Bureau of Cooperatives Development as full fledged cooperative of good standing with Certificate of Registration No. FF 563-RR dated August 8, 1985; and that one of your objectives is to provide and strengthen cooperative endeavor and extend assistance to members and non-members through credit scheme both in cash and in kind.

Based on the foregoing representations, you now request in effect a ruling as to whether or not you are exempt from the following:
1. Payment of sales tax

2. Filing and payment of income tax
3. Withholding taxes from compensation of employees and savings account and time deposits
of members. (Underscoring ours)

In reply, please be informed that Executive Order No. 93 which took effect on March 10, 1987
withdrew all tax exemptions and preferential privileges e.g., income tax and sales tax, granted to
cooperatives under P.D. No. 175 which were previously withdrawn by P.D. No. 1955 effective October 15, 1984 and restored by P.D. No. 2008 effective January 8, 1986. However, implementation of said Executive Order insofar as electric, agricultural, irrigation and waterworks cooperatives are concerned was suspended until June 30, 1987. (Memorandum Order No. 65 dated January 21, 1987 of the President) Accordingly, your tax exemption privilege expired as of June 30, 1987. Such being the case, you are now subject to income and sales taxes.

Moreover, under Section 72(a) of the Tax Code, as amended, every employer making payment of wages shall deduct and withhold upon such wages a tax at the rates prescribed by Section 21(a) in relation to section 71, Chapter X, Title II, of the same Code as amended by Batas Pambansa Blg. 135 and implemented by Revenue Regulations No. 6-82 as amended. Accordingly, as an employer you are required to withhold the corresponding tax due from the compensation of your employees.

Furthermore, under Section 50(a) of the Tax Code, as amended, the tax imposed or prescribed by Section 21(c) of the same Code on specified items of income shall be withheld by payor-corporation and/or person and paid in the same manner and subject to the same conditions as provided in Section 51 of the Tax Code, as amended. Such being the case, and since interest from any Philippine currency bank deposit and yield or any other monetary benefit from deposit substitutes are paid by banks, you are not the party required to withhold the corresponding tax on the aforesaid savingsaccount and time deposits of your members. (Underscoring ours)

Very truly yours,

(SGD.) BIENVENIDO A. TAN, JR.
Commissioner

The CTA First Division, however, disregarded the above quoted ruling in determining whether petitioner is liable to pay the deficiency withholding taxes on interest from the deposits of its members. It ratiocinated in this wise:
This Court does not agree. As correctly pointed out by respondent in his Memorandum, nothing in the above quoted resolution will give the conclusion that savings account and time deposits of members of a cooperative are tax-exempt. What is entirely clear is the opinion of the Commissioner that the proper party to withhold the corresponding taxes on certain specified items of income is the payor-corporation and/or person. In the same way,
in the case of interests earned from Philippine currency deposits made in a bank, then it is the bank which is liable to withhold the corresponding taxes considering that the bank is the payor-corporation. Thus, the ruling that a cooperative is not the proper party to withhold the corresponding taxes on the aforementioned accounts is correct.

However, this ruling does not hold true if the savings and time deposits are being maintained in the cooperative, for in this case, it is the cooperative which becomes the payor-corporation, a separate entity acting no more than an agent of the government for the collection of taxes, liable to withhold the corresponding taxes on the interests earned. 27 (Underscoring ours)

The CTA En Banc affirmed the above-quoted Decision and found petitioner’s invocation of BIR Ruling No. 551-88 misplaced. According to the CTA En Banc, the BIR Ruling was based on the premise that the savings and time deposits were placed by the members of the cooperative in the bank.28 Consequently, it ruled that the BIR Ruling does not apply when the deposits are maintained in the cooperative such as the instant case.

We disagree.

There is nothing in the ruling to suggest that it applies only when deposits are maintained in a bank. Rather, the ruling clearly states, without any qualification, that since interest from any Philippine currency bank deposit and yield or any other monetary benefit from deposit substitutes are paid by banks, cooperatives are not required to withhold the corresponding tax on the interest from savings and time deposits of their members. This interpretation
was reiterated in BIR Ruling [DA-591-2006] dated October 5, 2006, which was issued by Assistant Commissioner James H. Roldan upon the request of the cooperatives for a confirmatory ruling on several issues, among which is the alleged exemption of interest income on members’ deposit (over and above the share capital holdings) from the 20% final withholding tax. In the said ruling, the BIR opined that:
x x x x
3. Exemption of interest income on members’ deposit (over and above the share capital holdings) from the 20%

Final Withholding Tax.
The National Internal Revenue Code states that a "final tax at the rate of twenty percent (20%) is hereby imposed upon the amount of interest on currency bank deposit and yield or any other monetary benefit from the deposit substitutes and from trust funds and similar arrangement x x x" for individuals under Section 24(B)(1) and for domestic corporations under Section 27(D)(1). Considering the members’ deposits with the cooperatives are not currency bank deposits nor deposit substitutes, Section 24(B)(1) and Section 27(D)(1), therefore, do not apply to
members of cooperatives and to deposits of primaries with federations, respectively.

It bears stressing that interpretations of administrative agencies in charge of enforcing a law are entitled to great weight and consideration by the courts, unless such interpretations are in a sharp conflict with the governing statute or the Constitution and other laws.29 In this case, BIR Ruling No. 551-888 and BIR Ruling [DA-591-2006] are in perfect harmony with the Constitution and the laws they seek to implement. Accordingly, the interpretation in
BIR Ruling No. 551-888 that cooperatives are not required to withhold the corresponding tax on the interest from savings and time deposits of their members, which was reiterated in BIR Ruling [DA-591-2006], applies to the instant case.
Members of cooperatives deserve a preferential tax treatment pursuant to RA 6938, as amended by RA 9520.
Given that petitioner is a credit cooperative duly registered with the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA),
Section 24(B)(1) of the NIRC must be read together with RA 6938, as amended by RA 9520.
Under Article 2 of RA 6938, as amended by RA 9520, it is a declared policy of the State to foster the creation and
growth of cooperatives as a practical vehicle for promoting self-reliance and harnessing people power towards the
attainment of economic development and social justice. Thus, to encourage the formation of cooperatives and to
create an atmosphere conducive to their growth and development, the State extends all forms of assistance to
them, one of which is providing cooperatives a preferential tax treatment.
The legislative intent to give cooperatives a preferential tax treatment is apparent in Articles 61 and 62 of RA
6938, which read:
ART. 61. Tax Treatment of Cooperatives. — Duly registered cooperatives under this Code which do not transact any business with non-members or the general public shall not be subject to any government taxes and fees imposed under the Internal Revenue Laws and other tax laws. Cooperatives not falling under this article shall be
governed by the succeeding section.
ART. 62. Tax and Other Exemptions. — Cooperatives transacting business with both members and nonmembers shall not be subject to tax on their transactions to members. Notwithstanding the provision of any law or regulation
to the contrary, such cooperatives dealing with nonmembers shall enjoy the following tax exemptions; x x x.
This exemption extends to members of cooperatives. It must be emphasized that cooperatives exist for the benefit
of their members. In fact, the primary objective of every cooperative is to provide goods and services to its members to enable them to attain increased income, savings, investments, and productivity.30 Therefore, limiting the application of the tax exemption to cooperatives would go against the very purpose of a credit cooperative.
Extending the exemption to members of cooperatives, on the other hand, would be consistent with the intent of the legislature. Thus, although the tax exemption only mentions cooperatives, this should be construed to include the
members, pursuant to Article 126 of RA 6938, which provides:
ART. 126. Interpretation and Construction. – In case of doubt as to the meaning of any provision of this Code or the regulations issued in pursuance thereof, the same shall be resolved liberally in favor of the cooperatives and their members.
We need not belabor that what is within the spirit is within the law even if it is not within the letter of the law because the spirit prevails over the letter.31 Apropos is the ruling in the case of Alonzo v. Intermediate Appellate
Court,32 to wit:
But as has also been aptly observed, we test a law by its results; and likewise, we may add, by its purposes. It is a
cardinal rule that, in seeking the meaning of the law, the first concern of the judge should be to discover in its provisions the intent of the lawmaker. Unquestionably, the law should never be interpreted in such a way as to cause injustice as this is never within the legislative intent. An indispensable part of that intent, in fact, for we presume the good motives of the legislature, is to render justice.1 a v v p h i1

Thus, we interpret and apply the law not independently of but in consonance with justice. Law and justice are inseparable, and we must keep them so. To be sure, there are some laws that, while generally valid, may seem arbitrary when applied in a particular case because of its peculiar circumstances. In such a situation, we are not bound, because only of our nature and functions, to apply them just the same, [is] slavish obedience to their language. What we do instead is find a balance between the word and the will, that justice may be done even as the law is obeyed.

As judges, we are not automatons. We do not and must not unfeelingly apply the law as it is worded, yielding like robots to the literal command without regard to its cause and consequence. "Courts are apt to err by sticking too closely to the words of a law," so we are warned, by Justice Holmes again, "where these words import a policy that goes beyond them." While we admittedly may not legislate, we nevertheless have the power to interpret the law in such a way as to reflect the will of the legislature. While we may not read into the law a purpose that is not there,
we nevertheless have the right to read out of it the reason for its enactment. In doing so, we defer not to "the letter that killeth" but to "the spirit that vivifieth," to give effect to the lawmaker’s will.

The spirit, rather than the letter of a statute determines its construction, hence, a statute must be read according to its spirit or intent. For what is within the spirit is within the statute although it is not within the letter thereof, and that which is within the letter but not within the spirit is not within the statute. Stated differently, a thing which is within the intent of the lawmaker is as much within the statute as if within the letter; and a thing which is within the
letter of the statute is not within the statute unless within the intent of the lawmakers. (Underscoring ours)

It is also worthy to note that the tax exemption in RA 6938 was retained in RA 9520. The only difference is that Article 61 of RA 9520 (formerly Section 62 of RA 6938) now expressly states that transactions of members with the cooperatives are not subject to any taxes and fees. Thus:
ART. 61. Tax and Other Exemptions. Cooperatives transacting business with both members and non-members shall not be subjected to tax on their transactions with members. In relation to this, the transactions of members with the cooperative shall not be subject to any taxes and fees, including but not limited to final taxes on members’ deposits and documentary tax.

Notwithstanding the provisions of any law or regulation to the contrary, such cooperatives dealing with nonmembers shall enjoy the following tax exemptions: (Underscoring ours)
x x x x
This amendment in Article 61 of RA 9520, specifically providing that members of cooperatives are not subject to final taxes on their deposits, affirms the interpretation of the BIR that Section 24(B)(1) of the NIRC does not apply to cooperatives and confirms that such ruling carries out the legislative intent. Under the principle of legislative approval of administrative interpretation by reenactment, the reenactment of a statute substantially unchanged is persuasive indication of the adoption by Congress of a prior executive construction.33

Moreover, no less than our Constitution guarantees the protection of cooperatives. Section 15, Article XII of the Constitution considers cooperatives as instruments for social justice and economic development. At the same time, Section 10 of Article II of the Constitution declares that it is a policy of the State to promote social justice in all phases of national development. In relation thereto, Section 2 of Article XIII of the Constitution states that the promotion of social justice shall include the commitment to create economic opportunities based on freedom of
initiative and self-reliance. Bearing in mind the foregoing provisions, we find that an interpretation exempting the members of cooperatives from the imposition of the final tax under Section 24(B)(1) of the NIRC is more in keeping with the letter and spirit of our Constitution.

All told, we hold that petitioner is not liable to pay the assessed deficiency withholding taxes on interest from the savings and time deposits of its members, as well as the delinquency interest of 20% per annum.

In closing, cooperatives, including their members, deserve a preferential tax treatment because of the vital role they play in the attainment of economic development and social justice. Thus, although taxes are the lifeblood of the government, the State’s power to tax must give way to foster the creation and growth of cooperatives. To borrow the words of Justice Isagani A. Cruz: "The power of taxation, while indispensable, is not absolute and may be subordinated to the demands of social justice."34

WHEREFORE, the Petition is hereby GRANTED. The assailed December 18, 2007 Decision of the Court of Tax Appeals and the April 11, 2008 Resolution are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Accordingly, the assessments for deficiency withholding taxes on interest from the savings and time deposits of petitioner’s members for the taxable years 1999 and 2000 as well as the delinquency interest of 20% per annum are hereby CANCELLED.

SO ORDERED.
MARIANO C. DEL CASTILLO
Associate Justice
WE CONCUR:
ANTONIO T. CARPIO
Associate Justice

Chairperson
ARTURO D. BRION
Associate Justice
ROBERTO A. ABAD
Associate Justice
JOSE P. PEREZ
Associate Justice

A T T E S T A T I O N

I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned
to the writer of the opinion of the Court’s Division.

ANTONIO T. CARPIO
Associate Justice
Chairperson, Second Division

C E R T I F I C A T I O N
Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, and the Division Chairperson’s attestation, it is hereby
certified that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was
assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court’s Division.
REYNATO S. PUNO
Chief Justice
Footnotes
1 An Act Expanding the Jurisdiction of the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA), Elevating its Rank to the Level of a Collegiate Court with Special Jurisdiction and Enlarging its Membership, Amending for the Purpose Certain Sections of Republic Act No. 1125, As Amended, otherwise known as the Law Creating the Court of Tax Appeals, and for Other Purposes.

2 Rollo, pp. 45-64; penned by Associate Justice Olga Palanca-Enriquez and concurred in by Presiding Justice Ernesto D. Acosta and Associate Justices Juanito C. Castañeda, Jr., Lovell R. Bautista, Erlinda P. Uy and Caesar A. Casanova.
3 Id. at 80-81.
4 Id. at 47.
5 Id. at 7.
6 Id. at 57.
7 Id.
8 Id. at 118.
9 Id. at 48.
10 Id.
11 Id. at 48-49.
12 Id. at 49.
13 Id. at 49-50.
14 Id. at 50-51.
15 Id. at 51.

Id.
17 Id. at 46-47.
18 Id. at 51.
19 Id. at 11.
20 Id. at 52.
21 Id. at 63.
22 Id. at 80-81.
23 Id. at 18-19.
24 Id. at 75-78.
25 SEC. 15. The Congress shall create an agency to promote the viability and growth of cooperatives as instruments for social justice and economic development.
26 ART. 2. Declaration of Policy.- It is the declared policy of the State to foster the creation and growth of cooperatives as a practical vehicle for promoting self-reliance and harnessing people power towards the attainment of economic development and social justice. The State shall encourage the private sector to undertake the actual formation and organization of cooperatives and shall create an atmosphere that is conducive to the growth and development of these cooperatives.
Toward this end, the Government and all its branches, subdivisions, instrumentalities and agencies shall ensure the provision of technical guidance, financial assistance and other services to enable said cooperatives to develop into viable and responsive economic enterprises and thereby bring about a strong cooperative movement that is free from any conditions that might infringe upon the autonomy or organizational integrity of cooperatives.

Further, the State recognizes the principle of subsidiarity under which the cooperative sector will
initiate and regulate within its own ranks the promotion and organization, training and research, audit and support services relative to cooperatives with government assistance where necessary.
(Now amended by Republic Act No. 9520 or the Philippine Cooperative Code of 2008.)
27 Rollo, pp. 62-63.
28 Id. at 62.
29 Nestle Philippines, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 86738, November 13, 1991, 203 SCRA 504, 510.
30 Republic act No. 6938, Article 7.
31 Tañada and Macapagal v. Cuenco, et al., 103 Phil. 1051, 1086 (1957).
32 234 Phil. 267, 272-273 (1987).
33 Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. American Express International, Inc. (Philippine Branch), 500 Phil.
586 (2005).
34 Dissenting Opinion of Justice Isagani A. Cruz in Republic of the Philippines v. Judge Peralta, 234 Phil. 40,
59 (1987).

Monday, January 11, 2010

An Opportunity to Sow the Seeds of Change

By: Isagani B. Daba (FICCO BOD Chairman)

Have you ever wondered why, despite the fact that we have leaders who proclaimed that they have “Galing at Talino” or “Sipag at Tiyaga,” or are proud to claim that “Ramdam (natin) ang Kaunlaran” or that they represent the power of the grassroots, as in “Puersa ng Masa,” this country is in worse shape than it was ten years ago?

The explanation is simple. These so called leaders will tell us what we want to hear but will do what satisfies them, e.g. bloating their pockets with jueteng money or BW stock manipulations, or enter into deals like the ZTE-NBN, fertilizer scams, or obtain onerous deals for them or the businesses of their padrinos. Screwing us is what they have been up to all these times, remembering us only come election time. These leaders believed that if they will inundate media with self-proclaimed achievements, reinforced by the pronouncements of media commentators under their pockets, we will forget what they have earlier promised us.

Democracy’s strength lies in the people making informed choices, especially in selecting who will represent them in government. We members of FICCO, as well as other Coops who support ATING KOOP Party-List, will now have a unique opportunity to actively participate in pursuing change.

COMELEC’s approval of ATING KOOP accreditation as a national sectoral Party-List offers us a chance to sow the seeds of change in our body politic. If we succeed in electing three (3) ATING-KOOP representatives in congress, we will have the venue to espouse the values we hold dear in our coops. Values such as self reliance, mutual help, unity, sacrifice, volunteerism, prudence in the use of resources and exercise of power, transparency, accountability, good governance, democratic participation, and many others are what made our coops grow and become instruments in economic and social transformation. We hope, that through ATING KOOP, the same values will also trigger the political transformation that this country needs.

Obtaining COMELEC approval was not easy, more so with the opposition of Coop NATCCO Party-List. The opposition is a sad testament to the quality of leadership of the coop movement in this country. Instead of being happy that Coops will have more representation, Coop NATCCO believed that only them should represent the aspirations of the country’s cooperatives. With the way Coop NATCCO tried to convince coops to support its cause, one cannot help but wonder if coop values can trigger transformation, or is it just another good intention being gobbled up by the prevailing political culture that entrenched transactional politics.

The next hurdle will be to obtain the votes for ATING KOOP. We are thus challenging all members of FICCO, as well as other Coops that support ATING KOOP: let us convince all our relatives, friends, co-workers and neighbors to vote for ATING-KOOP. If we want the seeds of change sowed in Congress, let us spare no effort in making sure that ATING KOOP will have the maximum three representatives.

And if success awaits us this coming May 2010, let us continue to be vigilant making sure our representatives tow the party line and will not be among those who will receive payolas in paper bags.

MABUHAY ang ATING KOOP!

An Opportunity to Sow the Seeds of Change

By: Isagani B. Daba (FICCO BOD Chairman)

Have you ever wondered why, despite the fact that we have leaders who proclaimed that they have “Galing at Talino” or “Sipag at Tiyaga,” or are proud to claim that “Ramdam (natin) ang Kaunlaran” or that they represent the power of the grassroots, as in “Puersa ng Masa,” this country is in worse shape than it was ten years ago?

The explanation is simple. These so called leaders will tell us what we want to hear but will do what satisfies them, e.g. bloating their pockets with jueteng money or BW stock manipulations, or enter into deals like the ZTE-NBN, fertilizer scams, or obtain onerous deals for them or the businesses of their padrinos. Screwing us is what they have been up to all these times, remembering us only come election time. These leaders believed that if they will inundate media with self-proclaimed achievements, reinforced by the pronouncements of media commentators under their pockets, we will forget what they have earlier promised us.

Democracy’s strength lies in the people making informed choices, especially in selecting who will represent them in government. We members of FICCO, as well as other Coops who support ATING KOOP Party-List, will now have a unique opportunity to actively participate in pursuing change.

COMELEC’s approval of ATING KOOP accreditation as a national sectoral Party-List offers us a chance to sow the seeds of change in our body politic. If we succeed in electing three (3) ATING-KOOP representatives in congress, we will have the venue to espouse the values we hold dear in our coops. Values such as self reliance, mutual help, unity, sacrifice, volunteerism, prudence in the use of resources and exercise of power, transparency, accountability, good governance, democratic participation, and many others are what made our coops grow and become instruments in economic and social transformation. We hope, that through ATING KOOP, the same values will also trigger the political transformation that this country needs.

Obtaining COMELEC approval was not easy, more so with the opposition of Coop NATCCO Party-List. The opposition is a sad testament to the quality of leadership of the coop movement in this country. Instead of being happy that Coops will have more representation, Coop NATCCO believed that only them should represent the aspirations of the country’s cooperatives. With the way Coop NATCCO tried to convince coops to support its cause, one cannot help but wonder if coop values can trigger transformation, or is it just another good intention being gobbled up by the prevailing political culture that entrenched transactional politics.

The next hurdle will be to obtain the votes for ATING KOOP. We are thus challenging all members of FICCO, as well as other Coops that support ATING KOOP: let us convince all our relatives, friends, co-workers and neighbors to vote for ATING-KOOP. If we want the seeds of change sowed in Congress, let us spare no effort in making sure that ATING KOOP will have the maximum three representatives.

And if success awaits us this coming May 2010, let us continue to be vigilant making sure our representatives tow the party line and will not be among those who will receive payolas in paper bags.

MABUHAY ang ATING KOOP!

Another First: FMDC Merges With FICCO

By: Isagani B. Daba (FICCO BOD Chairman)

The Filipino Merchants Development Cooperative (FMDC) of Bankerohan finally found an able partner in FICCO – this, after two failed attempts to join forces with other coops in Davao City.

In a simple signing ceremony held at the Vanda function room of Apo View Hotel last 24 November 2009, FMDC and FICCO formalized the merger by signing a Merger Agreement in the presence of CDA Region 11 Director, Ms. Elma Oguis, who was invited as the guest of honor.

FICCO Chairman Isagani Daba signed the agreement on behalf of the largest community cooperative in the country, while Chairman Leonardo Lapuz represented FMDC. Signing as witnesses were CDA Dir. Oguis, FICCO CEO Vicente Rana and FMDC Manager Romeo Lacuna. Also present during the ceremony were FICCO Directors Jake Cornito and Arturo Aldamia, FICCO Regional Manager Elmo Bautista, and FICCO Davao Branch Manager Ellen Dizon.

The following FMDC officers were also on hand to witness the historic occasion: Vice Chair Efren Balatico and BOD members Julieta Mendros, Elsa Lofranco, and Samson de la Cruz.

Mr. Daba told the group that FICCO is also presently involved in the effort of consolidating three coop banks: the Coop Bank of Davao del Sur, the Coop Bank of Surigao del Sur, and the Misamis Occidental Coop Bank. He then explained that in a consolidation, all the participating entities will cease to exist while a new entity will emerge. In a merger, one of the participating entities will remain and will be the surviving company or cooperative. The others will cease operations.

FMDC will bring to the union its 1,000 members and P 30.0 million resources. This will increase FICCO’s assets to P 3.5 billion and membership to over 130,000.

FMDC’s membership welcomed the merger as an infusion of new life and hope to their coop that experienced financial difficulties in the last few years. FICCO’s proven management capability, visionary approach, financial muscle, and time-tested culture will all be drawn upon in turning around FMDC’s operations.

The merger is a first for FICCO, the first in Mindanao, and probably the first among credit coops in the country. This again proves FICCO’s pioneering spirit, helping a weak cooperative while at the same time working to achieve its vision of having a united and stronger coop movement. It is hoped that this move will inspire more mergers and consolidations among coops in the country.

"ATING–KOOP PARTY LIST APPROVED"

by: Atty. Proculo Sarmen

Finally, the COMELEC approved the application for the registration of the ATING-KOOP Party List to become one of the partylist vying for a congressional seat in the Party List System of Representation of the 15th Congress this coming May 2010 National Election. The First Division of the COMELEC in its 12-page Resolution SPP No. 09-030 (PL), dated November 13, 2009, unanimously granted the petition and approved the Adhikaing Tinataguyod ng Kooperatiba (Ating-Koop) Party List as a national sectoral organization that represents cooperative sector and its members, majority of whom form part of the marginalized and underrepresented sectors of the society. Thus, paving the advocacy of the ATING-KOOP Party List for good governance and genuine reforms in the enactment of laws, rules and regulations that are reflective and representative of the true spirit of cooperativism.

It must be recalled that the petition for the registration of the ATING-KOOP Party List has met strong opposition coming from other party list that represents also the sector of the cooperative. However, the voluminous evidence submitted by the ATING-KOOP Party List has convinced the COMELEC of the party list’s track record in the cultivation of the cooperative movement. The Verification Reports submitted by the COMELEC’s Field Officials has proved that ATING-KOOP Party List is present in majority of regions of the country, lending credence to its ability to wage a legitimate campaign. Hence, the COMELEC found no reason why ATING-KOOP Party List would not be able to contribute to the formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation that will benefit the nation as whole.

With the ATING-KOOP Party List advocacies of: creation of a large middle class through cooperatives and social entrepreneurship; sustainable development aimed at eradicating poverty and unjust social structures, preserving the environment, and equitable distribution of wealth through people empowerment; democratic participation by the grassroots under the principle of subsidiarity and mutual interdependence; respect for our diverse culture and religions; and, peace and harmony as the foundation of development, the uphill battle now begins.

With the coming of May 2010 National Election, the ATING-KOOP National Committee is calling all the members of the FICCO and PFCCO family, as well as other cooperative who share the same values and advocacies of ATING-KOOP to go out and vote ATING-KOOP Party List in our ballots. Our combined votes can greatly spell the difference of our dream of good governance and genuine reforms in the enactment of laws, rules and regulations that are reflective and representative of the true spirit of cooperativism.

Mabuhay and ATING-KOOP Party List!

COMELEC Approves Ating Koop (Junks Opposition of Coop NATCCO Partylist)

“Verily, we find no reason why ATING KOOP would not be able to contribute to the formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation that will benefit the country as a whole.” With this words, the First Division of the Commission on Elections in its “Resolution” dated November 13, 2009, unanimously approved Ating Koop’s Petition for Registration and Accreditation as a Sectoral Organization in the Party-List System of Representation for the May 10,2010 elections.

The 12-page “Resolution” of the Commission on Elections sustained and upheld the contention of ATING KOOP that it truly represents the cooperative sector. The First Division cited the “voluminous evidence submitted” by ATING KOOP which “convinced” the Commission of “its track record in the cultivation of the cooperative movement”. Moreover, the Commission mentioned that the “field verification reports submitted by the Field Offices prove that ATING KOOP is present in a majority of the region of the country, lending credence to its ability to wage a legitimate campaign.”

Moreover, the “Resolution” dated November 13,2009 dismissed and junked as without merit the opposition filed by the COOP-NATCO Party-List, an incumbent member of the House of Representatives, who argued that Ating Koop’s petition for accreditation should be “denied” for being, among others, “redundant as there are already existing party-list organizations representing cooperatives in Congress ” and that it was “organized by a religious group.”

The COMELEC’s accreditation and registration of ATING-KOOP as a bona-fide Party-List candidate in the May 10,2010 elections was celebrated by its members across the country, from Baguio City, considered the birthplace of the party-list group to the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, where it counts as one of its chapters the Nurjihada MNLF Women’s Multi-purpose Cooperative. It also invigorated and renewed hope in the integrity of the electoral system as the accreditation of the Party-List was anchored on its full compliance with the requirements of the law under Republic Act No. 7941, otherwise known as the “Party-List System Act” and the members’ collective faith in Divine Providence that “truth and justice shall prevail.”

However, the accreditation of ATING KOOP as a party-list Candidate in the May 10, 2010 elections is but the start; the task ahead is for the sectoral organization and its members, both present and future, to work hard to ensure that it will secure maximum representation in the 15th Congress.

The ATING KOOP National Committee, in a clarion call throughout the Philippines, urges its members to stand up and take a very active role in our historic participation in the country’s political arena. The preparedness and readiness of all of ATING KOOP’s Regional, Provincial, City and Municipal Chapters, and our faith in God shall therefore be the key to our victory in May 10, 2010. As optly said by our Chairman, Father Mar Arenas, “blessed are those who work for peace, and the new name for peace, in the words of Pope John Paul II, is “development. Supporting Ating Koop is therefore supporting the people’s development through cooperatives”!

Mabuhay ang Ating Koop! Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!

FICCO EdCom Forum

This images taken during last Saturday's Jan 9, EdCom Forum held at Xavier University High School Gym.