By Charissa Luci-Atienza
The House Committee on Cooperatives Development has endorsed the plenary approval of a bill seeking to make the position of a cooperatives officer mandatory in every municipality, city, and province.
The House panel, chaired by COOP-NATCCO partylist Rep. Sabiniano Canama recommended the final approval of a substitute bill, a consolidation of six measures.
“It provides the mandatory appointment of a cooperatives officer in every local government unit, as it underscores the significant role of cooperatives in the country’s local economic development,” Canama, one of the principal authors, said.
He noted that the House of Representatives approved the bill on third and final reading during the 17th Congress, but the Senate was not able to act on it.
For her part, Nueva Ecija Rep. Estrellita Suansing, who also principally authored the measure, said the bill seeks to promote the development of cooperatives in the country, especially at the grassroots level.
Under the bill, the cooperative officer is tasked to develop plans and strategies for the integration of cooperative principles and methods in programs and projects which the governor or mayor implements; and to provide technical assistance to cooperatives.
APEC partylist Rep. Sergio Dagooc expressed concern that the bill may run in conflict with the existing regulatory system for electric cooperatives.
He noted that electric cooperatives are under the jurisdiction of the National Electrification Administration (NEA), while regular cooperatives are supervised and regulated by the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA).
In allaying the concerns expressed by Dagooc, Suansing said that based on her experience in her district, no conflict in jurisdiction has been reported between the LGU cooperatives officer and electric cooperatives.
She noted that the position of cooperatives officer is already existing in some local government units (LGUs).
“It will only institutionalize and mandate the creation of such position in all LGUs,” she said.
The CDA and the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) rallied behind the passage of the bill.
Among the cooperatives that expressed their support to the measure are the Philippine Cooperative Center, Sta. Cruz Savings and Development Cooperative, ACES Credit Cooperative Development Inc. Multipurpose Cooperative (ACDI MPC), San Isidro Development Cooperative (SIDECO), Cooperative Banks Federation of the Philippines (BANGKOOP), and TMX Employees Consolidated Multi-Purpose Cooperative