Some thoughts of the new normal

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New Normal is the buzzword. The governments’ declaration of emergency community quarantine (ECQ) and its extension will soon end. Globally, the pandemic still haunts citizens with the rising number of cases. The measures undertaken by the government temporarily altered the curve. Amidst the clamor of many countries for a vaccine that could lessen the increase of COVID-19 infection emergence of other virus diseases threaten the lives of other people in some parts of the globe.

The COVID-19 attacks every human being irrespective of race, gender, age, and status in life. I guess the usual phrase developed and developing countries no longer apply in the current pandemic. Latest data indicate that that some developed countries registered higher cases of infection as compared to third world countries. Several reasons could be drawn from such situations.

Locally, the assumption of flattened curve changed with the detection of new cases. Different parts of the country are still under different quarantine status. This manifests a transition from emergency community quarantine to general community quarantine, modified community quarantine leading to the perceived new normal. The irony is can we call the coming days new normal even when the number of COVID-19 cases will upsurge?



As we wait for government directives upon deadline of the MECQ/GCQ issuance, what are possible plan of actions that we can undertake? Here are some proposed tips for cooperatives (especially micro and small cooperatives). 1. Preparedness. Cooperatives must embrace the reality that the effects of the pandemic can be experienced in the coming months and even years even after the discovery of a vaccine for such disease. How prepared are cooperatives to serve the needs of members given effects of the pandemonium on the livelihood of cooperative members. Other calamities can occur and may disrupt business operations as experienced this COVID-19 crisis. It was observed that farmers had difficulty in transporting their products leading to huge losses. Can cooperatives help anticipate potential problems and ready to initiate measures even with minimum government intervention? Are cooperatives prepared to transact business with the use of technology? 2. Plans. Are there plans or forged agreements between members and cooperative and between cooperative and partner institutions? Does the plan provide for safety nets in cases of unforeseen occurrences? Are cooperatives receptive of the idea on loan and crop insurance? Can cooperatives function even when under adverse disturbances hit the areas of operation? Several plans/programs are required for cooperatives like Five year development plan, social development plan, gender and development plan, training plan/program including governance and ethical standards. Cooperatives need to invest on the procurement of hard and soft wares for business operations. The virtual trend on business transactions can be done with the help of facilities. The usual manual approach can lead to possible membership issues especially when their needs are not answered by the cooperative. The possibility of computerization of operation is proposed.  3. Strategy. Are strategies in place as part of preparedness and plans for business continuity? For credit cooperatives, what are the terms and types of loans to be offered to members? Can online application be adopted and implemented? For consumer’s cooperatives, what are the strategies to ensure the availability of basic goods and services? For agriculture, producer and marketing cooperatives and other types, how can the cooperative ensure the safe disposal of products of members even under extreme condition? As to health, water, labor service and transport service cooperatives, what measures are in place to address the impact of calamities that can affect operations? The above tips are mere proposals for consideration of cooperatives. Strategies can include linkages with partner institutions. For those interested to come up with cooperative business continuity plans, you may reach us at lotessr@gmail.com. We can refer you to trainers.

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