PIA News Service - Monday, March 8, 2010

News Feature: The success of RCDC-Caraga’s hosting of Mindanao Coop Summit
By Jennifer P. Gaitano

BUTUAN CITY – The success of this year’s 5th Mindanao Cooperative Summit held on March 4-5, 2010 at Almont Hotel’s Inland Resort, this city is considered one of the biggest achievements of the Regional Cooperative Development Council (RCDC) Caraga. 

On the afternoon of March 4, from the 1,200 expected participants, there were around 900 participants/delegates who have registered from different regions all over Mindanao. 

At 7:00 o’clock in the evening, fireworks display was presented and followed with a cultural show at the same venue. All the participants/delegates especially those from other regions were amazed of the presentation showing Caraganons great culture through its dances and songs.

On the following day (March 5), a thanksgiving mass was celebrated by most of the participants/delegates officiated by Fr. Mar DJ Arenas, former chairman of the Philippine Federation of Credit Cooperatives (PFCCO) and Metro South Coop Bank, and founding chairman of the Ating Koop Parylist, who is also the keynote speaker of the said coop summit. Afterwhich, the registration of participants continued.

Fr. Arenas discussed the total quality leadership in credit cooperatives. He stressed that Mindanao is the coop capital of the Philippines. “Coop members should always bear in mind the seven (7) coop principles and that a cooperative should acquire the following qualities: voluntary and open membership; democratic control of members; economic participation of members; autonomy and independence; education, training and information; cooperation among cooperatives; and concern for the community,” Fr. Arenas said.

Along with the summit program is the Mindanao Coop Movement: Celebrating its successes/Best practices and lessons by various legitimate coop operating in Mindanao.

Coop Life Mutual Services (COOP-CLIMBS) Chairman Isagani Daba, presented the success story of First Community Cooperative (FICCO). He cited that FICCO never hesitate to adapt with changes and great challenges. Chair Daba also pointed out that FICCO also believes of its coop values properly appreciated and internalized as key to grassroots empowerment. 

Meanwhile, Philippine Federation of Credit Coops (PFCCO) National Chairman Atty. Proculo Sarmen discussed its coop’s achievements and success story. “PFCCO is one of the biggest coops of the country today,” Atty. Sarmen said.

Atty. Sarmen further said that PFCCO is continuing its advocacy for peace and development in every community.  

Also, Paglaum Multi Purpose Cooperative Chairman Gadwin Handumon, bared its programs and projects that benefited by its members thru there services like savings, loans, insurances and other programs contributed help to all its members. 

Gadwin also said that their coop helps provide light to off-grid areas thru micro-solar energy. “Let us help our co-coop members grow and enhance their skills so we could continue providing our services to others,” he added.

Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) Chairperson Lecira Juarez emphasized that as per Republic Act 9520 (extensive exemption of tax to cooperatives), coop members are benefited but still should have to follow implementing rules and regulations set by CDA and Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). 

“Cooperatives are not just tax payers but also tax makers…CDA will continue to support coop members. We have strong discipline within ourselves as cooperatives that will lead us to a more progressive coop members,” chair Juarez added.

Right after the sharing of success stories by various coops, an open forum was conducted.

At the forum proper, second Vice Chairman of the Host Execom Committee Chad Villamor served as moderator while there were different issues and concerns raised by the delegates from different regions. 

Meanwhile, CDA chair Juarez satisfactorily answered the questions raised during the forum. 

For other coops that have complicated concerns, chair Juarez requested them to put their concerns into writing and CDA will help them identify responsible agencies for their concerns. 

With the successful hosting of the 5th Mindanao Coop Summit, RCDC is optimistic that more coops will join in all the activities set by the council. (PIA-Caraga) 
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POPCOM promotes women’s welfare 

BUTUAN CITY – Empowering women and improving their economic status advanced by the Commission on Population in this celebration of Women’s Month.

This year’s event is anchored on the theme “Babae, tagumpay ka ng bayan”, which focused on women’s achievement despite various gender disparities.

In its various advocacy activities, POPCOM explained that advancing gender equality and empowering women is essential for sustainable economic growth within the family, community and all spheres of society.  

Studies showed that when women are supported and empowered, their families are healthier, more children go to school, family’s income increase. 

POPCOM pointed-out that women who actively participate in the labor force can help augment family’s income, regulate their fertility, and have fewer and healthier children.

RD Camilo S. Pangan, in a recent conference, emphasized that the more educated a mother is, the more she has a chance to be employed and empowered herself to be freed from poverty and any forms of violence and discrimination.

The 2008 National Demographic & Health Survey revealed that more educated mothers have better health care, better access to resources through earning opportunities and are significantly more likely to use contraception to space births.

On the contrary, survey said that women in poor households had the tendency to bear more children than those who are well-off, the result further shows that women who did not attend school at all bear an average of 5 children, about twice the total fertility rate (TFR) of those with college education.

The observance of Women’s Role in History Month every March is mandated through Proclamation No. 277. Meanwhile, Republic Act 6949 declares March 8 of every year as a working special holiday to be known as National Women’s Day. (Angie Balen- Antonio, POPCOM-13/ PIA-Caraga)
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CCPD extends financial assistance to kins of slain soldiers, wounded civilian and soldiers in Agusan del Sur ambush 

BUTUAN CITY (March 8)– The Department of National Defense (DND), through the Caraga Council for Peace and Development (CCPD), on Monday extended financial assistance to dependents of four slain peacemakers and one wounded civilian during an ambush last month at Barangay La Fortuna, in Veruela town, Agusan del Sur province. 

The wounded Army soldiers were also provided the financial assistance which was held in time with Bishop Juan de Dios Pueblos’ birthday at Bishop’s Palace in Barangay Ampayon here. Bishop Pueblos is the founding chair of CCPD. 

During Monday's awarding program, the CCPD condemned the inhumane and barbaric acts of the communist-New People’s Army (NPA) at Barangay La Fortuna in Veruela town last Feb. 24. 

“The CCPD is deeply upset with such coward act,” the CCPD’s statement said. 

The CCPD statement also said “It only shows that the group (NPA) is already desperate as the government troops have won over them during the series of operations, development and peace programs in the different areas in the region.” 

“It is hard to believe that there are people who can do such cruel act, victimizing even innocent civilian. It is also sad to note that our peacemakers, who are advocating peace throughout the region were among those who were killed,” it added. 

The church group said the cruel act is a “clear violation of human rights”. The CCPD said this series of atrocities must be put an end. 

Killed during that ambush incident were 1Lt. Isagani Villasis, Sgt. Jose Balaba, Pfc. Alejandro Dao-on and Pfc. Zenn Stephen Cloma. 

Wounded civilian was nine-year-old Rosejean Tomonan. (muc/PIA-Caraga)