NEWS and ANNOUNCEMENTS
“The success of the coop is cannot be measured through its assets, but through the changes made in the lives of its members,” Elvina said.
Elvina Baquirin was born to a farmer tenant of 8,000 square meter rice fields and a housewife in Cabatuan, Isabela. Elvina did not experience a fortunate life back then. At a young age, she was already exposed to the challenges of life. She and her siblings go to the farm to earn income in aid of their financial difficulties. These difficulties helped her to become stronger and determined to pursue her education. “Ayaw ko na ganitong buhay ang danasin ng magiging pamilya ko,” Elvina added. At a young age, she worked in a tailoring business of her aunt to support her elementary education. She graduated valedictorian in elementary but still, her family is lacking financially. She sought sponsorships from Non-Government Institutions, Government Agencies and even to her relatives. With patience and determination, she was able to finish her BS in Secretarial Administration and BS in Business Administration with flying colors. She also decided to pursue further studies and earned her masters and doctorate degree at the age of 28.
The Our Lady of La Salette Multi-Purpose Cooperative (OLLSMPC) was organized in the year 1993 wherein Elvina was still a student. It was in the year 1995, before her graduation, when she found her first employment with University of La Sallete in Santiago City and eventually became a member of the University’s Cooperative. Since she had already her first job, she thought of a gift that would show her gratitude for all the sacrifices of her parents. Her salary back then was not enough to buy a television for her parents. But through the OLLSMPC, she had her first loan to the cooperative in the amount of Php 4,500 to buy the gift she wanted for her parents.
Though everything may seem smoothly sailing, Elvina was affected by the downsizing of La Sallete College. Thus, she sought employment from other educational institutions. Seeing that she was smart, capable, and determined she became a school administrator and college dean of different colleges within Santiago City, Isabela.
Already having a stable job, Elvina decided to settle down. She and her husband were both employed, as an instructor and a bank teller, but as their family grows, expenses grow proportionally with it. As she starts to have a family of her own, she was financially challenged. She remembered that she promised to herself that her children will not experience the life she had back then. Therefore, she decided to avail again a loan in the amount of Php 15,000 from the cooperative to start a new business in the year 2003. She bought two rolls of cloth and three portable sewing machine for her small tailoring business and named it JESHAN School Uniforms and Enterprises located at Centro East, Santiago City. With her exposure in the cooperative, she was able to make connections which she used to market her starting business. Her tailoring business have grown so fast as she is now catering schools and government institutions in Santiago City and nearby municipalities like Cordon, San Isidro, Cabatuan and even in the province of Ifugao.
Elvina was a business-minded person and had another loan from the coop to be used for agricultural purposes. According to her, from the time she became a member of the coop, she did not feel that she had suffered.
Along the success of their business comes a big challenge to their family. In 2014, her husband was diagnosed with brain tumor. She was supposed to buy a building and lot that time and even paid half of it, but due to this incident, she withdrawn and gave up this investment. In times of trial, OLLSMPC was there to help her family. A financial assistance is offered by the cooperative for the major surgical operation undergone by her husband.
Having thought of all the benefits the coop gave to her made her run as an officer. It was not easy but she managed to win as Board of Directors and was chosen as the Vice Chairperson on her first term. She is now on her second term as a Board of Director and was elected as the Chairperson of the Board. She had been contributing a lot in the coop and even wanted to do more and more for the benefit of every members.
Being the Chairperson of OLLS MPC is not an easy task but with the help of all the members, officers of the coop and her family, she believes that she can do it successfully. Being an entrepreneur, and officer, requires a lot of time but she sees to it that she is at her best in performing her most favorite role and that is being a wife and a mother. As a mother, she sees to it that her children, Shaira Jone and Andrea Jonel, are growing well. Shaira Jone, a fourth year Accountancy student is a receiver of the “Most Influential Student” in Far Eastern University and Andrea Jonel is also a honor student. Her husband is a long-time barangay official but he is now helping her in their business.
Elvina is very thankful to OLLS MPC for the life-changing opportunity she have found. She had grown financially and professionally but she remained humble despite being blessed. She shares all the knowledge and skills she have through free trainings, without thinking that those being taught can be her competitors someday. Among those being taught, she randomly selects recipients of free sewing machine. With the newly acquired skills and facility, it is with no doubt that these people will already be able to earn on their own. She believes that if someone can be successful, others should be successful too. In fact, she employs senior citizens, the oldest of which is 74 years old, as long as they are able to work. She even gives incentives to her employees as an appreciation of their contribution to success of their business.
Not only has the cooperative had the concern for the community, Elvina, as a coop member also practices the 7th principle of the cooperative. She is having an annual gift giving to less fortunate indigenous people in the Province during her birthdays.
When asked what is her formula of success, “Faith in God + Self discipline + Right spending of loans availed from the coop + love for the COOP = HAPPINESS. As a member, we should love our COOP, we should show care to our COOP. As an officer, we have to take good care of every member’s money because they worked hard for every cents they contribute to the cooperative.” she answered.
Thru the House Resolution No. 44, introduced by Hon. Anthony M. Bravo, Hon. Sabiniano S. Canama and Hon. Rico B. Geron entitled “An Inquiry in Aid of Legislation on the Establishment of an APEX Organization of All Cooperatives as a Unifying Body of the Cooperative Movement,” the Cooperative Development Authority holds a sequential consultative meeting all over the country.
In Region 2, the Local Government Unit of Cauayan City, thru the leadership of Hon. Bernard Faustino M. Dy, successfully hosted the Consultative Meeting for the creation of an APEX Cooperative Organization at SP Session Hall, 3rd Floor F.L. Dy Coliseum, Cauayan City, Isabela on April 4, 2018. It was participated by officers of federations, unions, electric cooperatives and cooperative banks in the provinces of Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino. The objective of the meeting is to inform the sector on the proposed guidelines governing the organization and registration of an APEX Cooperative.
Atty. Mona Liza P. Arriba-Juarez, Attorney IV of the Cooperative Development Authority – Central Office, explained what an APEX Cooperative is and its legal basis in creating such. She also discussed the result of the consultative meetings in other regions and presented the proposals on the power, purpose and limitation of the proposed APEX Cooperative as a whole.
Participants showed their strong support on this endeavor by giving ideas, opinions and even revisions for the proposed guidelines. They believe that APEX Cooperative is indeed beneficial. As defined, an APEX Cooperative is the only and highest national cooperative organization composed of federations and unions. As an umbrella and unifying organization, it serves as the voice of the cooperative of all types and categories. Through this APEX Cooperative, they consider it as their voice to represent the cooperative movement in the various mechanisms of the government.
As long as the intentions are good, cooperatives in Region 2 will remain supportive to all the plans and programs of the sector. It is true that by supporting each other, we bring unity, strength and victory.
The Department of Tourism Region 2 conducted Farm Tourism Regional Consultative Workshop in Pulsar Hotel, Tuguegarao City, Cagayan on March 15, 2018. National government agencies, local government units, non-government organizations, farmer operators and private individuals participated in this endeavor. The workshop was designed to discuss the implementation of the Republic Act 101816 entitled “The Farm Tourism Development Act” in the Region.
Nowadays, farming is disregarded as a profession wherein young ones are no longer interested in, thinking that a job that involves dirty hands is not noble having forgotten that nearly everything that we eat came from plants or animals that are raised by our farmers. Our legislators believed that thru the RA 10186, it will encourage younger ones to see the beauty and dependence of life in farming.
The Farm Tourism Development Act recognizes the importance of Agriculture in making available food and other products necessary to sustain and enhance human life, and improving livelihood to a major portion of the population. It also recognizes that tourism, coupled with agriculture extension services, can disseminate the value of agriculture in the economic and cultural development of the country. In addition, it seeks to promote environment-friendly, efficient and sustainable farm practices; provide alternative recreation facilities and farm tourism activities for families, students and other clientele; and promote health and wellness with high quality farm-produced food. Finally, it aims to maximize the benefits of agriculture and tourism combined.
As defined by the law, Farm Tourism, also known as agri-tourism, refers to the practice of attracting visitors and travelers to farm areas for production, educational and recreational purposes. It involves any agricultural based operation or activity that brings farmers, visitors or tourists who want to be educated and trained on farming and its related activities, and provides a venue for outdoor recreation and accessible family outings.
The Cooperative Development Authority is one of the members of the FARM TOURISM DEVELOPMENT BOARD that shall develop and implement programs for the adoption of technologies appropriate for farm tourism, provide adequate training and agricultural extension services for farm tourism practitioners and operators and strengthen farm tourism cooperatives and organizations.
As to date, there were already 7 agri-tourism farms accredited by the DOT in the provinces of Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino. One of the accredited site, the Tam-an Agro-Tech Organic Farm, located at Bayombong, Nueva, Vizcaya is owned and operated by Tam-an Banaue Multi-Purpose Cooperative, the first billionaire cooperative in the region.
Our climate is changing, which impends traditional food production. Our population is growing, increasing the demand for food. During this time when food is getting scarce, it is important to appreciate what our farmers do, and to note that there are numerous opportunities in agriculture besides farming that are waiting to be unveiled.
Through our journey in life, we are faced with multitudes of experiences. The travel we take be at times smooth and calm, it is also inescapable that we are challenged on bumpy roads or sailing in the stormy seas. During those times, we tend to ask for help in traversing such course and it is by blessings we meet a helping hand. Below is a narration worth sharing as we uncover his story.
Santiago Fantalgo , 53, “Santi,” as called by his family and friends. Way back on year 1995, he was the security guard of Cooperative Development Authority – Tuguegarao Extension Office - it is a government agency in charge with the regulation and development of Cooperatives. Thereat, he had a glimpse and idea of what a cooperative is. The employees of CDA back then has already an existing cooperative which is the Co-op Developers Cooperative.
As a security guard he receives a monthly compensation to P2, 800.00 of which is not enough to sustain his family’s daily living. Indeed, he needed some support to overcome his financial difficulties. As it was known to him the benefits and beauty of cooperative, he tendered his application for membership in the Co-op Developers Cooperative before the end of 1995. His application was approved early 1996. He made his initial share contribution amounting to P500. He continuously remitted some of his salary for the capital share contribution until it reached a total of P1,500, afterward, he was able to avail a loan of P4,500 from the cooperative. He utilized the proceeds of his loan to finance the education of his children. However, despite the availment of the said loan, such is still not sufficient to support the studies of his five children. He resorted and again made a loan of P15,000. There he felt that his membership is a tool to finance his family.
Along this way comes another blessing in his life as there was a vacancy declared in the permanent position of CDA- -TEO, he then applied for it and was hired afterward. His appointment was issued on December 11, 2001. In such a way, this blessing helped him to lighten the burden. Although that he made some increment and ease some of his financial difficulties, as his children grow the expenses to sustain the living and schooling also rise up. Considering the increase in his salary, he is still experiencing difficulties in finances most of the time. Still, he needs the services of the cooperative. “Kapag nalaman kong pwede na naman akong makapag-avail ng loan, renew lang ng renew. Kaya napapagaan ko ang aming buhay kasi nandiyan ang coop na lagging umaalalay.” He always goes to cooperative every time he is undergoing financial constraints.
He religiously invested his borrowings in the education of his children. He even added, “Hindi ko namalayan na napagtapos ko na mga anak ko kahit utang.” He was able to send his five children to school. The first graduated with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Business Administration Major in Financial Management at Saint Louis University and now working as Senior Sales Man at Petron Corporation. Second, Aileen is now working at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources who took up BS Information Technology at Cagayan State University. His third child is a graduate of Elementary Education, a licensed teacher, but opted to work at Bureau of Fire Protection. The last two are twins who finished Business Administration Major in Financial Management and Secondary Education, working in a private firm and teaching in a private institution respectively.
Since his children are already working and having their own lives, he thought of having a business with his wife. He bought a 500 square meters residential lot in Solana, Cagayan part of which was again financed through the help of the cooperative. This piece of land was planted with fruit-bearing trees. In addition, they are also into poultry production, chicken and duck to be specific.
The cooperative has been of great help to Santi and in return of his gratitude to the cooperative as he also wanted to help others, he was motivated to run as Board of Director. He possesses all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications to be a member of the BOD, he then ran and got elected to the position. He believes that cooperative can do more to the members, and as a member-officer, he can do even more to the cooperative. “Sana hindi laging iniisip ng tao na kapag sinabi nating koop ay pagkukuhanan lang ng pera, sana kapag sinabi nating koop, ang maiisip na natin ay paano ang pagpapalago sa perang ito,” he added. He believes that the cooperative and members should grow directly proportional to each other; no one should be left behind.
He made use wisely his loan from the cooperative, now he is feeling relieved and where in fact, his children are already returning the favors. According to him, joining the Co-op Developers Cooperative was one of the best decisions he made in his life. Earlier this year, his five children, including his wife were already part of the coopeative.
As of the moment, we can safely say that Sir Santi had made it. Through the cooperative, he endured and he is now sailing smoothly. But he doesn’t stop there, as he sees that many are still taking up his previous path, he then wanted to help them. Being a member-officer, he sought others to put their trust in the cooperative just like what he did. Truly, it can be envisioned, even though it may be little by little, the rough and bumpy road can be lessened. This is possible through cooperative - accessible and reliable in times of trouble.