CDA Chair challenges coops to face and address risk to grow

Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) Chairperson Emmanuel Santiaguel has stressed the need for cooperatives to face and address the risk for them to grow.

In his speech during the fellowship night of CLIMBS General Assembly on April 25, 2014 in Cebu City.

Santiaguel likened the experience of the coop sector in the Philippines to the exclusive growth of the Philippine economy that appears to benefit only the rich.

He said that despite the claim of the national government of a robust economic growth in the Philippines, the poor continues to wallow in poverty and is not even aware of the booming economy. Similarly, he said “we have been suffering from a big gap between the rich and the poor coops.”

Santiaguel pointed out that “we have 17,000 poor coops; mostly micro-scale and the wealthy ones are only around 500 coops. But mind you, these 500 wealthy coops own 80% of the total assets or resources of the coop sector.”

Santiaguel put to task snail-paced coops for their dismal performance. “It is disheartening to think that for so long, many cooperatives started on a micro scale and after more than twenty years, they remain micro or small scale in category. They cannot even graduate into the medium scale,” Santiaguel said.

He added that these cooperatives are neither wanting of resources or good leaders nor business acumen. The problem he said is in the fact that most conservative cooperatives shun or avoid the risk. “They remain contented just to drift, letting the chance and opportunities pass them by.”

He also suggested integration, merger and consolidation as alternative solutions to the challenge. “What we are looking for is a true cooperative, imbibing the true essence of: cooperativism, practicing the cooperative principles, and maintaining social relevance, whereby, it caters to the very needs of the members it is supposed to serve; where it has impact or influence on the social and economic growth without prejudice to the social and economic status of its members,” Santiaguel added.

He pointed out that to be able to live up to those expectations – cooperatives must be bold but prudent, innovative but keep the coop identity intact, ambitious but supported by a meticulous development plan.

Source: The CLIMBS Journal, Vol.1 No.25