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October has been declared as Cooperative Month with various activities implemented in the different corners of the Philippines. Series of webinars occur everywhere and awarding ceremonies in appreciation of various people and institutions promoting cooperatives in the Philippines. With the theme “COOPERATIVES Amidst Pandemic, Stand for Resiliency, Strive for Sustainability “several local government units decided to push through with the celebration even with the challenges of the current situation.
In the municipality of La Trinidad, the Local Government Unit extended an invitation to CDA and to various cooperatives based in the valley that participated in the Opening of its Cooperative Month Celebration. An Opening Program was held on October 15, 2020 at the La Trinidad Communal Forest that was attended by local officials headed by Mayor Romeo K. Salda. Also present were Vice Mayor Roderick Awingan, Councilor Francis A. Lee, Apolinario A. Bagano, Jr. and municipal employees from the different offices. Four personnel from the CDA CAR Office headed by Regional Director Franco Bawang, Jr. joined the activity. Also, representatives of about 22 cooperatives were present that completed the team in planting about 500 pine tree and Ficus seedlings at the communal forest.
It was interesting to find out that the local government unit of La Trinidad through its Municipal Agriculture Office was able to propagate the endemic specie of Ficus locally known as “Tebeg”. Such success can help reduce the introduction of foreign tree species that can have a negative effect in our ecosystem. .
Aside from tree planting, on October 16, 2020 the LGU-La Trinidad sponsored about 50 cooperative officers and staff for a free whole body massage. This was a move to help in the health and wellness of cooperative advocates at the same time support the members of the Stimulating Therapeutic Massage Multipurpose Cooperative whose members are mostly visually impaired men and women. It was a gesture geared towards helping distressed micro cooperatives cope with the effects of the COVID-19 that affected the sources of livelihood of the physically challenged individuals.
On October 20, 2020, the Local Government Unit turned over Livelihood Assistance to the Beckel Neighborhood Multipurpose Cooperative with main office located at barangay Beckel.
Other activities for the cooperative month celebration in the valley include Online Orientation on Ensuring Safety against COVID-19 slated on October 23, 2020 and Gawad Parangal for COOP Heroes on November 10, 2020.
With the above activities in the capital town of Benguet, I highly commend the Municipal Cooperative Office headed by Mr. Orlando Pacya for coordinating the activities. The involvement of more local officials, cooperative officers, staffs, members and stakeholders attest to the significance of cooperatives in our daily lives. Kudos to all cooperative stakeholders for sustaining the established partnership.