By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri took to the floor
on Wednesday to usher in the National Cooperative Month — the first
official celebration after the passage of Republic Act 11502, an Act
Declaring October as our National Cooperative Month.
Zubiri, who chairs the Senate Committee on Cooperatives, spoke on the
contributions of cooperatives to the country, and the legislative
measures that the committee has forwarded for and with the sector.
“I want to publicly thank and recognize the coop sector for its
outstanding contributions in the country’s fight against COVID-19.
According to the Cooperative Development Authority, the sector was
able to provide a substantial 5.5 billion pesos’ worth of assistance
throughout the pandemic,” Zubiri reported.
“At hindi lang po iyan sa mga coop members, kundi sa mga non-members
rin po at sa kanilang community. This is what our cooperatives
embody—the Bayanihan spirit,” he added.
According to the International Cooperative Research Group, about 13
percent of the country’s population are members of cooperatives. And
per the Cooperative Development Authority, there are currently 18,848
operating cooperatives across the country, directly generating over
half a million jobs. Indirectly, they have paved the way for the
creation of about 2.5 million jobs.
“Many of those jobs are in the countryside. Napakalaki po ng ambag ng
ating mga kooperatiba sa ating countryside development. Andiyan talaga
sila on the ground, engaging with our people and providing services on
the grassroots level,” Zubiri asserted.
“I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that our agricultural
sector, for one, would be on its knees without support from
cooperatives,” he said.
Zubiri highlighted legislative measures the Committee on Cooperatives
has successfully shepherded into law, including the Cooperative
Development Authority Charter and the Cooperatives Development Officer
Act. He has also filed three more bills for the sector, namely the
Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program Act, the Transportation
Cooperatives Development Loan Fund Act, and the Cooperative Banking
Act of 2021.
“Tuloy-tuloy po nating palalakasin at palalawakin ang ating coop
movement, so we can help more Filipinos have access to resources that
they need in order to uplift themselves and their communities. That is
our commitment this Coop Month and beyond,” he vowed. “Tuloy-tuloy na
pag-asenso ng mga kooperatibang Pilipino. Sa kooperatiba, sama-sama
tayong babangong muli sa pandemyang ito.” (ai/mtvn)