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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.