BATANGAS CITY – Officials of the Provincial Cooperative, Livelihood and Enterprise Development Office (PCLEDO) have urged small business owners in Batangas to group themselves and form cooperatives to have better access to government support.
PCLEDO head Celia Atienza on Thursday said cooperatives have access to various funding schemes, such as soft loans, which are not made available to individual owners of small agri-businesses and cottage industries.
Atienza said national government agencies (NGAs) prefer to deal with cooperatives since they have juridical personalities, and it is easier to work with a group instead of an individual, especially when pursuing large projects.
Micro and small businesses involved in agriculture and manufacturing make ideal candidates for forming cooperatives, she said.
“Cooperatives are not our clients, they are our partners. We act as coaches, mentors and teachers of cooperatives… We are just opening the doors and windows for the assistance,” Atienza told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
She said the administration of Batangas Governor Hemilando Mandanas strongly believes in the growth potential of local cooperatives and their capacity to contribute to food security and the provincial economy, which is why funding support is being made available.
“Cooperatives should be organized not based on the budget promised to them but because the members are willing to work and well-aware of their goals,” she added.
PCLEDO raised concern over the lack of cooperatives in certain municipalities in this province, and urged small entrepreneurs to organize themselves to gain access to government support.
Roderic Garvin, chief of PCLEDO's Cooperative Development Division, said the towns of San Nicolas and Tingloy still do not have cooperatives to this day.
He said small livelihood operations alone cannot attain the same level of productivity and profitability as government-recognized cooperatives.
“Our office gives technical and financial needs of cooperatives in the province. We are focused on providing training and education to the officers of the cooperatives so that they can be good at management,” he added.
Garvin underscored that his office also provides mandatory and specialized training focusing on the fundamentals of cooperatives, governance and management, financial management, risk management and credit management.
He said the PCLEDO provides assistance in policy formulation, strategic planning and guardianship programs.
Out of 383 cooperatives in Batangas, 17 belong to the large category and most of them belong to the micro-small category, Garvin said. (PNA)