CDA chief: Cooperativism can be mechanism to meet challenges of ASEAN integration (Philippines News Agency)

Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) Chairman Orlando Ravanera said that cooperativism is the one liberating the marginalized sector especially farmers and workers by putting them in the mainstream of development and social transformation.

Ravanera was guest of honor in the just-concluded 2nd Philippine Councilors League (PCL) Credit Cooperative National Summit and General Assembly held at SMX Convention Center in this city.

The CDA chairman said that at present, there are 24,652 registered cooperatives in the country. These are mostly farmers, fisherfolk, workers, transport, and housing types.

In a roadmap he presented before the member-delegates of the summit, Ravanera underscored the need to advance cooperativism in the country for inclusive growth anchored with development and sustainability.

He said that cooperative serves as coping mechanism under the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) integration where goods, services, skilled labor, investments and capitals are free flowing.

Cooperatives are producing products that are globally competitive, Ravanera stressed, adding that, it is just the lack of advertisements that needs to be addressed.

He further said that cooperatives at present are also generating 500,000 direct and 1, 900, 000 indirect jobs.

Moreover, Ravanera cited a situation in Mindanao where four million cooperative-members are now bidding for the biggest hydro power complex in the island.

It can supply 60 percent of the area’s energy need so it should be under cooperatives’ collective control and not by cartel or foreign capitalist, Ravanera said as he pointed out that if they control power, they also control business.

If major investments and projects are under foreign capitalists, the CDA chairman said Filipinos will have no control over resources and utilities thus, cooperativism is the one that will empower them.

That is why they are now encouraging workers especially those in marginalized sector to unite as cooperatives, Ravanera said.

He also reminded local government units (LGUs) that under Republic Act 7160, they are mandated to advance cooperativism in their respective locality.(PNA)