Cabinet Secretary Jun Evasco called on cooperatives to “strengthen their viability, sustainability, and effectiveness” in his message to members of MASS SPECC Cooperative Development Center during its 48th Coop Leaders Congress and 43rd General Assembly in General Santos City on May 6 and 7, 2017. In his Call To Action, Secretary Evasco also urged cooperatives to become the 4th pillar of the national economy.
The call came as a big challenge to cooperatives in the country which have been growing in number but continue to be underdeveloped. The government oversees the development of cooperatives through the Cooperative Development Authority, which is now under the Office of the Executive Secretary.
Over seven hundred participants from six regions of Mindanao attended the annual gathering of cooperative leaders. This year’s gathering was significant in its special focus on individual members of primary cooperatives. Amid the growth and apparent success of many cooperatives in Mindanao, there is now a need to look at their impact on the lives of their members, many of whom belong to the lower income sectors of the population.
The general assembly approved the new vision of the cooperative movement in Mindanao – “all members enjoy better quality of life”. The vision will guide the federation and its member-cooperatives in their activities in the coming years.
Other personalities who addressed the gathering were Sen. Miguel Zubiri, Cooperative Development Authority Administrator Abdulsalam Guinomia, NATCCO Partylist Representative Ben Canama, Gadwin Handumon of the National Anti-Poverty Commission, and incoming Undersecretary Joselito Libres, Office of Participatory Governance under the Office of the Cabinet Secretary, and Atty. Ranibai Dilangalen, Undersecretary for Special Concerns of the Department of Agriculture.
Senator Zubiri addressed the current issue of tax exemption privileges of cooperatives, currently being deliberated in Congress. He assured the cooperative leaders in Mindanao that he will vote against the repeal of these tax privileges.