Common Bond of Membership and Some Updates

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In my previous column, we delve on membership, capital subscription and its relationship to voting rights and general assembly. In the latest issue, Director Franco G. Bawang, Jr. shared on the issues related to General Assembly Meetings.

As a continuation of our past write-ups, our sharing shall focus on common bond of membership that we often hear or read in the Articles of Cooperation and by-laws. Additional information on total membership of cooperatives will be included to give us an idea on how far cooperatives influenced our region and the country.

It was timely that I received a text message from one of the personnel of a large cooperative in the Province of Benguet asking “what is common bond of membership?”  I guess most cooperatives started filling up the new Cooperative Annual Progress Report Form and we are glad of such feedback or query.

To start with, bond usually identifies the link or tie that binds a group of persons willing to form a cooperative. This is usually provided in the Articles of Cooperation of the cooperative wherein they would be asked to choose from the four fields of membership. The four bonds of membership and definitions as lifted from the Model Articles of Cooperation and by-laws include: a. Residential – members working and/or residing in the same place, b. Institutional – members consist of employees, workers and/or officers of a particular institution, c. Associational – members come from a registered and/or recognized association, group, club, fraternity, and other similar aggrupation. Recognized association means legitimate aggrupation of persons which is publicly known in a particular community and able to     present certification from applicable government entity, and d.Occupational – members come from same or allied profession or occupation.

“In case the common bond of membership is associational or institutional, the specific coverage of the association or institution must be indicated with certainty to ensure that the proposed cooperative shall recruit members only from the association or institution with identified area of operation.”

Given the above bond of membership, prospective cooperators and cooperative members can identify the field of membership they will use in the registration of a new cooperative or in amending their existing Articles of Cooperation. In our observation the most preferred bond of membership is residential. We noticed that some cooperatives with associational and institutional bond of membership which converted them to residential had dramatically increased their paid-up capital, net surplus and assets. An example is the Benguet State University Multi-Purpose Cooperative whose field of membership was institutional and membership was restricted only to BSU employees and alumni of the University. As approved by the General Assembly, it opened its doors to the community when it amended its Articles of Cooperation and by-laws to adopt residential as bond of membership. It has vividly increased its assets to about P 404 million as of December 31, 2014 from a of P35.8 million assets only in 2006. Further, its membership of 3,990 in 2006 has increased to about 15,451 members as of December 31, 2014. National CDA data ranks BSU MPC as 122nd in the list of top 500 billionaire and millionaire cooperatives in the country, number 8 in CAR, and number 1 in the Province of Benguet.

Moreover, the Benguet Operators Drivers Association Multi-purpose Cooperative had associational bond of membership but decided to amend to residential. Its total membership in 2006 was about 326 that increased to 580 as of December 2014. From assets of P6.9 million, it had tremendously increased it to P48.4 million as of December 31, 2014.

In fairness, we cannot solely attribute the growth of cooperatives to its bond of membership. Organizational and financial growth is often associated with the human resource management, good governance, ethical standards, varied business operations and the support of the members and community. Without effective managers, officers and staff cooperative operations cannot succeed especially when members do not patronize or support the cooperative. Membership is associated with financial growth as it is our perception that the more members a cooperative has, the more volume of business is generated that should result to higher assets and net surplus given sound management.

Last February 21, 2015, Director Bawang and this writer witnessed the 17th BATJODA MPC Annual General Assembly attended by about 300 members held at The NPRCTC, BSU, La Trinidad, Benguet. One of the approved agenda was to amendment its bond of membership from associational to residential. BATJODA is currently ranked as 617th cooperative in the country, 37th in CAR and  8th place in Benguet as of December 31, 2013 data. We thank them for the trust and confidence accorded and we are proud to be part of their success as one of the millionaire cooperatives in CAR that belongs to the Top 1,000 cooperatives in the country.

Also, on the same day, Topdac Multi-purpose Cooperative held its 34th Annual General Assembly at the Life in Christ Fellowship Church, Km. 34, Topdac, Atok, Benguet with about 250 members in attendance. Invited speakers include leaders from Baguio City in the persons of Engr. Catalino G. Panganiban and Engr. Susan N. Angaga  who shared their experiences in relation to cooperative principles, duties and responsibilities of members, cooperative operations and strategies of cooperative growth. A team from PHIL-AM Life–Hora Agency headed by Unit Manager, Dominador Dongla Jr. tackled on Credit Life Insurance and Health Investment.

Again, we thank them for the invitation and we hope the brief updates extended can help their cooperative.

This week, we received invitations from the Benguet State University MPC, Universal MPC, Lagawe Multi-purpose Development Cooperative and DOERS MPC which will hold their Annual General Assembly on February 28, 2015.  DENR-CAR Employees MPC will have its General Assembly on March 6, 2015 while Bahong Multi-purpose Cooperative, Baguio Vegetable Retailers Savings and Development Cooperative, La Trinidad Vegetable Trading Post MPC and Kibungan Employees MPC scheduled their GA on March 7, 2015. Good luck and more power to all cooperative members!

In our next issue, we shall discuss further on membership specifically figures at the provincial, regional and national level. HAPPY PANAGBENGA! HAPPY STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL !

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