Based on the categorization of cooperatives as provided under CDA M.C. 2007-07, about 32 cooperatives changed status from 2014 to 2015. Twenty-eight of these move to higher level while four (4) cooperatives retrogressed. Three of the four (4) cooperatives previously categorized as small reverted to micro and one medium regressed to small. A closer look at the movement of cooperative status from 2015 to 2016 indicated a 43% progressed to higher status while three cooperatives retreated. Mismanagement and lack of internal control measures were some factors in the retrogression of the identified cooperatives.
Out of the total number of cooperatives that changed status for the last two years, data show a big leap from micro to small (35 coops) followed by small to medium (20 coops) and medium to large (11 cooperatives). An extra ordinary leapfrogging occurred in 2014 to 2015 when two micro cooperatives reached medium category. The aggressive measures undertaken by the two cooperatives in savings mobilization and capital build-up; massive recruitment and expansion of operations may have yielded resources that contributed to the tremendous increase in assets.
A total of 125 cooperatives were registered for the past three years. The increasing trend can be attributed to the creation of a new type called agriculture cooperative and the shifting policy directions of the government in recognizing ownership of transport franchises to be registered under corporation or cooperative. The list of newly registered cooperatives indicated that credit type had the highest number registered (50 cooperatives) followed by agriculture (29); transport service (19) with advocacy and housing having the least number registered. The prompt response to request for technical assistance for the conduct of Pre-Registration Seminar both at the regional and field level contributed to high rate of registration.
CDA-CAR Extension Office relentless effort to sustain partnership with various entities led to conduct of multifarious events with the involvement of more cooperative stakeholders. Frequent dialogue, meetings, consultation, product launching and technical assistance services foster closer working relations among the different players in promoting cooperatives as a vehicle in uplifting the lives of marginalized sectors and provide accessible services to cooperators from all walks of life.
In partnership with local government units, cooperative councils, federations, unions, academe, and line agencies several activities were held in the region. Students from the different universities and colleges accessed information from CDA-CAR data base that were used for bachelor, master and post graduate degree courses. Some students provided copies of their thesis to the CDA office. One classic example of sustained partnership with Benguet Province was the conduct of 11 activities attended by 1,512 participants from different cooperatives based in the Province. An average of 50 cooperatives per activity had been involved and our profound gratitude to the support of LGU-Benguet that sponsored all the activities free of charge. The supportive Governor and Sangguniang Panlalawigan allocated budget in support of cooperatives activities. In the entire region, it is only Benguet that sponsors a two-day Cooperative Convention free of charge. Equity of participating cooperatives includes their transport and lodging expenses to and from their respective areas while food and snacks are shouldered by the local government. Record shows that the province of Benguet spent about P 769,410.22 for the above mentioned activities that serve as a proof of its commitment to help cooperatives grow.
In addition, separate activities were conducted by the different municipal government units in the region like LGU-La Trinidad that implemented seminar-workshops and strategic planning. The supportive leadership of the Honorable Mayor and Sangguniang Bayan of La Trinidad led to the creation of the L Trinidad Cooperative Development Services Office that gained a national award.
CDA-CAR Extension Office personnel believe in the power of unity and solidarity. The above cited outputs were influenced by the strategies adopted that ensure smooth operations leading to responsive stakeholders willing to help cooperatives grow as tools for socio-economic growth and development. The established partnerships with local government units; line agencies; academe (including acceptance of On the Job-Trainees (OJTs); conduct of tie-up activities like cooperative month celebrations; trainings and seminars; support to cooperative development councils; teamwork and harmonious relationship of CDA-CAR employees within and outside the office contributed to attainment of positive results.
Finally, these outputs could not have been attained without the full cooperation of the stakeholders. We commend all those involved in the process.