CDS IIs, Cooperative And Federalism, Part 1

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Cooperative Development Specialist II as a position in the Cooperative Development Authority all over the country is a challenging task. It is a rank and file position (SG-15) that bears stratospheric expectations from CDA top management, cooperative sector and other stakeholders in handling cooperative issues in the field. Allow me to share the feelings of being in the front line and I do hope my fellow CDS IIs agree on the following revelations. Having been in the field for the past 15 years taught me the rudiments of working with people to attain assigned agency targets with minimal budget. The beauty of it is even salary is used as part of the operating expense. But some office based personnel think otherwise and they often laugh at the issue when shared. I cannot blame them because they are often treated as special guests whenever they visit field offices. It seems the present situation has not change compared to the observations three years ago. I guess the pressure today is lighter considering that the focus of CDS II is more on inspection but services can be possibly tapped during the conduct of examination or investigation.

In addition, other employees of government agencies may have specific job descriptions. But not to a Cooperative Development Specialists II who has multiple tasks. In some instances people make fun of the position and often stress the word “specialist” in gatherings; as a diligent and submissive person a smile is the best response. A CDS II respects the opinion of others and explain the subject matter bearing in mind the spirit of the law. When cooperative situations call for the services of an instant cooperative consultant, mentor, coach, and supervisor, the cooperative development specialist willingly accepts the function without monetary benefits in mind. This makes CDS II truly important in the life of a cooperative as the amount of risks is closely associated with the pieces of advice provided. A smart CDS II will not provide half-baked information or answers to questions. It might come to the point wherein some cooperative leaders challenge the integrity, capability and truthfulness of CDS II. Let us bear in mind that people have multiple intelligences and not all are common in us as humans.  It cannot be denied that some limitations exists but the sincerity to deliver the best service keeps the determined CDS II to explore and faithfully discharge the assigned duties and responsibilities. Others may laugh at this opinion but time will tell the real champions of community development? I cannot force everybody to believe in our commitment as catalyst of change. But try to ask any CDS II if the government shoulders communication expenses and cellphone unit they possess? For sure the answer could be “Gratis et amore Dei” or maybe “charge to experience”. It’s not something to be proud of but compare this attitude to other government employees – -can they spend personal funds for the welfare of the people?

In an effort to retool front liners of the CDA, the Batch 3 of the Strategic Technical Course was held last July 2-7, 2017 at the Development Academy of the Philippines, Tagaytay City. I joined 71 Cooperative Development Specialists II from Region I (Dagupan Extension Office), III (Pampanga Extension Office), IV (Calamba Extension Office), V (Naga Extension Office) and NCR (Manila Extension Office) in undergoing the intensive training course that nearly caused us sleepless nights. We were asked to solve case studies that are somewhat based on actual events. Being the lone participant from CDA-CAR Extension Office, it was an exciting opportunity for me to be with other regions as I missed the 2nd Batch held in Baguio City last June 19-23, 2017 due to my official travel abroad.

The topics discussed during the week-long course tickled the minds of fellow CDS II. We cannot remove the fact that exposure to the field for quite some time require periodic reminders on the Do’s and Don’ts of being a government employee. Others may have mastered the art of surviving the challenges of a fast changing world, some may have succumbed to temptations but a greater number still cling to the belief that people must be at the center of development. We at CDA deal with people. Our intention is to foster holistic approach in dealing with the number one enemy of every nation—poverty. As one of the branch of government with limited budget but doing a herculean function, our only consolation is when we watch figures and hear stories that greater number of small cooperatives turning into millionaires and billionaires. The success is attributed to the members, management, officers and other stakeholders who work hard to pool their resources and achieve a common goal—that is improvement of the quality of life of every member.(To be continued)

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