DEPARTMENT of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez underscored the vital role of cooperatives in widening the reach of government programs for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), especially at the countryside.
“Cooperatives make a significant economic difference in the lives of its members while contributing to their overall well-being and their communities. They have been our ally in empowering our MSMEs, allowing DTI programs to be accessible in their respective areas such as our microfinance loans and shared service facilities,” said Sec. Lopez.
According to the trade chief, DTI and the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) shall continue to harmonize policies as well as coordinate programs and activities that will help the cooperatives in strengthening and maximizing its role in empowering those at the grassroots level and sharing the prosperity to all Filipinos nationwide.
During a policy dialogue organized by the CDA, USAID, and United States Overseas Cooperative Development Council (OCDC) on 30 July 2019, Sec. Lopez shared DTI programs where cooperatives play an important role.
Cooperatives partner with DTI’s Small Business (SB) Corporation and become credit delivery partners for the Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (P3) microfinance loan program of the government. Members of cooperatives likewise get access of this low interest loan to set up their own businesses.
DTI also award shared service facilities (SSF) to cooperatives and associations to improve MSME competitiveness by providing them with machinery, equipment, tools, systems, skills and knowledge under a shared system.
DTI also eyes cooperatives to become a partner in its Negosyo Serbisyo sa Barangay, where MSME development programs are extended to the barangay and community levels.
DTI has helped many MSMEs and cooperatives through its programs, like when the City of Gapan Footwear Multi-purpose Cooperative in Nueva Ecija helped Rolando Pascual establish his own brand, the Bagong Likha Footwear, through the SSF awarded by DTI. Likewise, the SSF awarded to Santo Niño de Parish Multi-purpose Cooperative in Leyte allowed the local community to create their pandan and bariw products. Through the machineries and the mentoring as well as training programs in product development and marketing provided by DTI, the products are now being exported to the United States and Indonesia.
Residents of Marawi who were affected by the siege were also awarded with SSFs through various cooperatives such as Maranao Collectibles Services Cooperative that received langkit weaving equipment and Lower Bangon Marawi Consumer Cooperative that received palapa production machineries. The equipment aims to bring back the vibrant trading in Marawi and uplift the lives of many Maranaos.
Cebu People’s Multi-purpose Cooperative in Cebu City is one of SB Corporation’s credit delivery partners for the P3 program. The cooperative has assisted 1,076 MSMEs in their city, including market and carenderia vendors.
Meanwhile, key findings in the study undertaken by OCDC revealed that:
- Coop members reported enjoying a better economic position, and are more likely not to be poor and more likely to be lower middle or better.
- Coop members say their cooperatives are the reason why they have a better economic position. Members also report a sense of financial security and overall well-being. In addition, 74% of non-members state that cooperative activity positively affects the overall economic development of the community.
“Stronger collaboration between government, the cooperatives, and the private sector will boost the programs for our MSMEs. This will allow is to spread the delivery of basic services to the grassroots level even as we implement our poverty alleviation and inclusive growth programs,” Sec. Lopez concluded.