MASS SPECC Cooperative Development Center is the oldest and largest cooperative federation in the country. Following the voluntary tradition of cooperative development, it started with mostly parish-based credit unions being organized in different dioceses in Mindanao during the 1950s. In 1966, these credit unions organized the Southern Philippines Educational Cooperative Center (SPECC) in recognition of the importance of co-op education in cooperative development. In 1973, they organized the Mindanao Alliance of Self-Help Societies (MASS) to provide support services like audit, technical advice, and extension services as well as represent their interest with government and other stakeholders. In 1984, both secondary organizations merged into what is now known as MASS SPECC Cooperative Development Center.
Membership and Geographical Coverage
As of December 2015, MASS SPECC has 282 affiliate primary cooperatives operating in different parts of Mindanao. The combined individual membership of the federation sums up to more than a million, owning altogether assets at an estimated value of 25 billion pesos.
As to type of cooperative, majority (59%) are multi-purpose cooperatives, 38% are savings and credit cooperatives, while the rest are classified as service cooperatives. They are distributed in all the regions in Mindanao.
MASS SPECC’s services to its affiliate cooperatives have evolved over the years (Table 1). Right now, it has a Central Fund, which pools surplus funds of co-operatives for on-lending to cooperatives with financing needs. It has an Information & Communication Technology unit that provides software solutions and ATM services, a Consultancy unit that provides technical support and advice, and a Research & Development unit. Its Education and Training services are managed by the Institute of Cooperative Studies (ICS), which is still an integral unit of the federation.
Development Advocacy for Marginalized Sectors
In recent years, MASS SPECC has been strengthening its advocacy role, guiding its affiliate cooperatives towards a common development agenda. It has encouraged cooperatives to deepen their services to members and the community, in particular in addressing the needs of marginalized sectors (i.e. farmers, fisherfolk, indigenous peoples, women, informal sector) so that members belonging to these sectors will not be left behind in the cooperative’s economic progress. It has mobilized cooperatives to put up a common fund for the environmental protection and response to natural disasters. Its general assembly in 2014 worked on the theme: Cooperating Out of Poverty, encouraging cooperatives to contribute more purposefully towards poverty reduction and inclusive economic growth.
Among the “action points” identified during the general assembly focused on agriculture and agricultural development, encouraging cooperatives to provide more financial and technical support to farmers, particularly in sustainable agriculture (organic farming), facilitate marketing of farmers’ produce, enhance their participation in the value chain through institutional linkages, and centralize marketing for greater market presence and reach.
All members enjoy better quality of life.
- To foster & strengthen the financial cooperation among cooperatives towards the long-term institutional & financial stability of the Cooperative Sector;
- To promote cooperatives as a distinct sector in the economy & as a people’s movement bound by shared values & philosophy; and
- To promote dialogues & establish linkages with stakeholders on the basis of partnership & mutual respect – for greater impact on peace & development, for & with the tri-people of Mindanao.
Excellence, Efficiency, Effectiveness, Member-Oriented & Productivity
Strategic Plan (2017-2021)
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