31 years ago, the Cooperative Development Authority was born. It was in March 10, 1990 to be exact. At this time, I am also about to complete my freshman year as a college student. It was sad to say that I was unaware of the existence of an office they call, the CDA. I guess, the creation of that office was overshadowed by the great earthquake four months later.
What added to the factors that the new agency not gaining immediate popularity is the fact that only 7 Regional Offices were established. It took some time for the CDA Regional Office in CAR to be organized, which is one year later or in 1991. Even some of the core officials of the young office were relocated to CAR from one of the seven Regional Offices originally created which was in Dagupan City.
Of course, even before the creation of the CDA, co-ops are already existing, the most prominent of which is the Baguio Benguet Community Credit Co-operative (BBCCC) which was founded in 1958. I usually see the bus owned by the Atok Sayangan Multi-Purpose Co-op but it never registered to my mind as a co-op. To me, it was just a mere organization operating a public utility.
What is significant about this year’s anniversary, is the ground breaking of the soon to rise CDA Tower at the head office located at Quezon City. It will be an 11-story building that will become the permanent home of the CDA. The present set of our Board of Administrators/Directors have seen the need to modernize the presently occupied office building which has seen better days.
Before the creation of the CDA by virtue of Republic Act (RA) No. 6939 which was recently amended by RA 11364, the Bureau of Agricultural Cooperatives Development (BACOD) was established in 1987 under the Ministry of Agriculture and it was in charge of the co-operative programs in the country since at that time, the focus of the government was to develop the agriculture sector through the formation of co-ops. Going back further, the Bureau of Cooperatives Development was under the Ministry of Local Government (DILG at present).
That was the journey of the CDA. It was a Bureau under the DILG, then it was transferred to the DA until the CDA charter was enacted into law and it became a separate office under the Office of the President. At one time, the CDA was transferred to, of all agencies, the DOF. Under the present administration, the CDA was removed from the DOF because it was out of place there, back to the Office of the President.
At present, the CDA became an attached agency of the DTI. I believe, the planners saw co-operatives as a business enterprise and not merely focused on agricultural activities as it expanded into almost any kind of business from financial services to public service utilities. Who knows where the CDA will be attached next.
As far as the CDA CAR Regional Office is concerned, since it is just renting an office space, what will be truly significant is when the office building will rise.