DAGUPAN CITY – There are now 1,536 cooperatives operating in Region I with Pangasinan having the most number and Ilocos Sur having the richest.
Regional Director Josefina Bitonio of the Cooperative Development Authority said the cooperatives in the region continue to improve as there are sustained increases in the number and reach of cooperatives.
Out of the 1,536 coops, only 878 are compliant and have been religiously submitting documents to the CDA regional office. At least 714 coops have updated their reports. Their classification according to assets range from micro (68.20%); small (22.4%); medium (7.42%); and large (1.96%).
The province of Pangasinan has the most number of coops with 383 covering 24 municipalities. La Union comes in second with 115 in 14 towns. Ilocos Sur contributes 101 coops in its 21 towns and 115 for Ilocos Norte in 14 municipalities.
While Pangasinan has the most number, it only has one billionaire coop which is the electric cooperative PANELCO III. The province of Ilocos Sur boasts of three billionaires namely: Nueva Segovia Consortium of Cooperatives, Sacred Heart Savings Cooperative and Sta. Cruz Savings and Development Cooperative (SACDECO). La Union has one which is the Tubao Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Inc.
Bitonio said the coops in Region 1 contribute P9.6 billion share to the nationwide income.
“Social change is elusive and breaking poverty is formidable as ever that is why we urge cooperative members to be catalysts of change through poverty eradication and social transformation.” Bitonio said during the regional cooperative month celebration held in Dagupan City.
CDA Chairman Orlando Ravanera, who was the event’s guest of honor, enjoined members of the cooperatives in Region I to value their membership , patronize Filipino products and live up to the virtues of social justice, equity and development.
Ravanera said the products of the cooperatives are good and harmonization and complementation are needed to sustain them.
“Cooperatives have addressed the physical barriers that hinder people from being included in the formal financial system. Aside from physical access to financial services, these services must be affordable, of good quality and relevant to lead to actual usage that can benefit the person accessing the said service,” Ravanera said.
Aside from the main forum, the CDA also held contests for coop members like group dance showdown and ‘Your Face Sounds Familiar.’ Members also had the chance to display and sell their products to other coop members in the region.
Proclamation No. 493, series of 2004 declares the annual celebration of the Cooperative Month every month of October where the spirit of cooperativism is rekindled through the holding of national and local activities with the participation of cooperatives and partner agencies. (VHS/PIA-Pangasinan)