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Bong Go lauds new law strengthening cooperatives, emphasizes need for whole-of-nation approach for equitable development in all regions

April 17, 2021 - Saturday 6:04 PM by MDM

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Senator Christopher “Bong” Go welcomed President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent signing into law of a measure which mandates local government units to appoint a Cooperative Development Officer (CDO) who will be tasked with formulating measures ensuring the delivery of basic services and provision of facilities through the organization, promotion and development of local cooperatives. 

“Cooperatives are an important force in countryside development and nation-building. Not only have they contributed to the development of the sectors they represent but they have also encouraged the empowerment of their respective stakeholders and communities,” began Go. 

“We need a unified, whole-of-nation approach to ensuring development in localities. Kaya naman pinapahalagahan natin ang mga kooperatiba dahil tinutulungan nito ang ating mga kababayan sa pamamagitan ng mga kaalaman at serbisyong teknikal at pinansyal na ibinabahagi nito,” he continued. 

President Duterte signed Republic Act No. 11535, which Go had co-authored and co-sponsored, last April 9. The new law amends R.A. 7160, otherwise known as ‘the Local Government Code’, which transfers control and responsibility of delivering certain basic services to LGUs. 

The measure was sponsored by Senator Migz Zubiri, who is also the bill’s principal author. Other authors are Sen. Risa Hontiveros, Sen. Ramon ‘Bong’ Revilla, Jr., and Sen. Francis Tolentino, to name a few. 

Under R.A. 11535, a municipality or city government has the option to appoint a full fledged CDO or merge the said position with a related office. The CDO shall lead the office responsible for the development of local cooperatives registered with the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA). 

As part of their role, the officers will be tasked with formulating and implementing plans and strategies, particularly those that have to do with integrating cooperative practices into local programs and projects. 

They will also identify groups, sectors or communities that can be organized into cooperatives and help said cooperatives establish key linkages with government agencies, cooperative unions and federations and nongovernment organizations etc. in order to strengthen cross-sectoral collaboration. 

With the assistance of the CDA, Department of Trade and Industry and other relevant stakeholders, the CDOs shall likewise provide technical assistance and other forms of aid, including training, education and business and financial management etc., to help cooperatives grow and succeed.

Finally, the CDOs will assist in developing and implementing risk management plans and business continuity and management plans that will ensure the survival and subsequent rehabilitation of a cooperative following a calamity. 

Go, who is a member of the Senate Committee on Cooperatives, previously issued an appeal for more support to cooperatives amid the hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. A standby fund was created under the ‘Bayanihan to Recover as One Act’ or Bayanihan 2 to provide low interest loans coursed through various government financial institutions for cooperatives and their members.  

“We treat cooperatives as partners in this fight because we understand the role that they play in helping our communities overcome this crisis. Magtulungan at magbayanihan lang po tayo. Sama-sama nating malalampasan ang mga pagsubok na ito,” said Go.