Senator Christopher “Bong” Go (Contributed photo)

MANILA – Senator Christopher “Bong” Go has urged the continued cooperation and bayanihan among cooperatives in the country as he recognized their role in development and nation-building.

“Cooperatives have become 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,” Go said during his speech at a Virtual Forum with Cooperative Leaders on Thursday.

Mahalaga talaga ang mga kooperatiba dahil tinutulungan nito ang ating mga kababayan sa pamamagitan ng mga kaalaman at serbisyong teknikal at pinansyal na ibinabahagi nito... Magtulungan at magbayanihan po tayo para mas makarating ang ayuda at serbisyo ng gobyerno sa mas maraming Pilipino,” he added.

(Cooperatives are truly vital because they help our fellowmen through knowledge and technical and financial service they impart…Let’s help each other to get the support and service o the government to more Filipinos.)

The senator enjoined the cooperatives to continue helping the country in any way they can.

“For bigger cooperatives who wish to make donations for the public but don’t know where to go, maaasahan ninyo pong tutulungan namin kayo (rest assured, we will help you). We are willing to assist you to ensure that your donations will reach those who need help the most,” said Go.

Due to the economic impacts of the pandemic, Go assured the cooperatives that the government will continue providing assistance to small businesses and vulnerable sectors through the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2.

Through the Bayanihan 2, Go also said that there will be a standby fund that will provide low-interest loans for workers and businesses affected by the pandemic coursed through various government financial institutions. He added that even cooperatives may avail such loans.

“Sa Bayanihan 2 Act, may allocation din for loans na kung saan maaaring kumuha ang mga kooperatiba para matulungan ang inyong mga beneficiaries (there is also an allocation for loans where cooperatives avail of to help their beneficiaries),” Go said.

“You may avail of these forms of assistance to strengthen your lending and loaning services in your communities,” he added.

Go also reiterated his call to cooperatives to utilize their Community Development Fund in order to contribute to the government’s efforts to fight the coronavirus disease and help their respective community members mitigate the socio-economic impact of the crisis.

“As I have mentioned before, I encourage the cooperatives to utilize the Community Development Fund to aid in our efforts to fight the pandemic,” Go said.

“This will also help your respective community members mitigate the impacts of the crisis on your stakeholders,” he added.

Meanwhile, Go expressed his full support for the endeavors of the country’s cooperatives through legislation.

“I will support, through legislation, the reforms that the Cooperative Development Authority would like to introduce in growing cooperatives, for us to attain sustainable growth,” Go said.

He added that he will look into recommendations and programs to help the cooperatives industry, such as the provision of seed fund the farmers and women cooperatives; capability building on sustainable development for cooperatives; market development assistance for agricultural cooperatives; executive development program for medium scale cooperatives or Cooperative Development Academy; incentivizing cooperative formation to State Universities and Colleges; local government support to community-based cooperatives; organizing Certificate of Ancestral Domain Titles into cooperatives for IP communities; integration of cooperatives to ending local communist armed conflict; decentralization of cooperative development down to the barangay local government units; and creation of National Cooperative Development Training Center.

Go said although the government is always ready to help cooperative members, it does not see them simply as “beneficiaries”.

“We treat you as partners in this fight because we know that you are more than willing and capable to help our communities overcome this crisis,” Go said. (PR)