Eleven staff from the Philippine Carabao Center attended the 12th National Cooperative Summit at Waterfront Hotel in Lahug, Cebu on October 16 to 18.
The event is a biennial convention of the country’s cooperatives’ leaders and a “show of force” to demonstrate that the local cooperative movement is alive and booming, according to Engr. Sylvia O. Paraguya, chairperson of the Philippine Cooperative Center (PCC), which served as a co-convenor of the summit along with the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA).
Some 5,000 cooperative leaders, advocates and supporters from Regions 1 to 13 as well as from the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) attended the summit.
The event was hosted by VICTO National and the Philippine Cooperative Central Fund Federation, two of the country’s biggest cooperative federations.
The agency’s delegation to the summit comprised Dr. Peregrino G. Duran, Dr. Lester S. Verona, Dr. Cyril P. Baltazar, Ericsson N. Dela Cruz, Wilma T. Del Rosario, Mario M. Delizo, Reyner R. Tomas, Genaro Candelaria, Marilou A. Santos, Zadieshar Sanchez and Marilou A. Vallarta.
The theme of the three-day event, “Cooperatives 2020: Raising the Bar”, reflects current efforts to raise the competitiveness of 23,600 registered cooperatives to the international level by year 2020. The theme is also in line with the International Cooperative Alliance’s (ICA) blueprint for Cooperative Decade 2020, which is the basis for the global cooperative movement.
The adoption by local cooperatives of the ICA blueprint is expected to help cooperatives prepare for the challenges and opportunities under the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) 2015.
The summit featured, among others, presentations by various resource persons that included former budget secretary Benjamin Diokno and former NEDA secretary Cielito Habito.
According to Diokno, the Philippine cooperative movement, which presently involves 23,600 registered and operating cooperatives, contributes some five percent to the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP). He also highlighted the contributions and participation of local cooperatives in job creation and enterprise development that reach even the far-flung areas of the country.
On the other hand, Habito cited the efforts of the cooperative movement benefitting 12.6 million members that correspond to almost 13 percent of the total Philippine population.
At present, the Philippine Carabao Center assists a number of dairy cooperatives that implement carabao-based dairy enterprises located in the agency’s national and regional impact zones located in various parts of the country.