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Several write ups on cooperatives passed through this column. Together with my partner success stories, challenges, changes in policies and other related topics were written hoping that it can inspire our readers.
As we witnessed another year added to the age of Baguio Herald Express, I would like to dwell on the heading of this column that was coined during its maiden issue.
Moreover, allow me to express my profound gratitude to all relatives, friends, officemates, acquaintances and community residents that extended financial and non-financial support during our time of grief. My apologies that I cannot enumerate all your names, thank you for the munificence.
Just a week ago, our youngest brother passed away. It was the 8th incident in a span of 30 years that I personally witnessed. Six of which happened in La Trinidad, one in Nueva Vizcaya and one in Bukidnon that involved members of my family. Out of ten siblings, only two of us remain. Indeed, it takes stamina to overcome the challenges of life. We highly appreciate the support extended by people around us. Guidance from our elders and Pastors reinforced by faith in the Almighty and willingness of people to serve with gladness compose the best weapon to combat anxieties.
Death is like a robber that strikes anytime and anywhere. One critical part is in addressing the effects of death within the immediate family that spill over to the clan and community. This is where “duno and alluyon” works wherein part of the solution engages the participation of all people. No matter how you despise the act of one person, the last respect prevails with gladness to help those left behind. Often, questions on honesty, integrity, and attitude of the deceased person are set aside and the best service is accorded.
Raised from a poor family, I am privileged to share that the spirit of collective action (duno) performed by family members and community residents ease the burden of giving the last respect to our departed. The show of love and care are exemplified especially in the preparation of coffin and tomb, collection of firewood, butchering of animals and cooking of food, extending financial assistance, transporting cadavers and burial of the dead.
While the collective action is being performed the spirit of cooperation (alluyon) is done freely without remuneration. Some people volunteer their vehicles and services at no cost except for some reimbursements of fuel expenses when the donated cash is sufficient to cover expenses. Harmony works that siblings and family members agree to contribute for the indigenous clothing of the deceased including other expenses. While most of us embraced Christianity, the tradition still exists and mutual assistance is performed with the help of some elders. Some Christians consider it as a taboo to blend cultural beliefs and practices in the process of giving the last respect to the dead person but some denominations appreciate such. For centuries, the indigenous practices shaped the lives of the indigenous people even before Christianity was introduced.
It might sound complicated but the point I would like to highlight is that the traditional way of helping each other in times of need is the very essence of cooperative. The show of support to people during critical moments without need for formal organizations manifest the unwritten law of our forebears about cooperatives.
Finally, we might have institutionalized mutual aid or assistance as embodied in registered cooperatives and associations, but duno and alluyon will always work in our midst as an informal system of cooperative. This has been proven as evidenced by our culture of helping each other in any event that tests our lives as humans. Let us treasure the indigenous practices of mutual help and incorporate it in our formal cooperative system. Such action shall ensure preservation of our customs and traditions that can be passed to the future generations. Every human being shall have the chance to return the borrowed life to God anytime and anywhere, the best way is to be prepared. Let us then believe in God, surrender everything and sustain the faith that HE is our savior. This I guess is the safest way to have a happy life. When the time comes that our names are called to join those who went ahead, we will not worry as we embraced the reality that life is full of expectations and we prepared for it.