The Cooperative Development Authority-Cordillera has lauded Benguet for not only having the highest number of cooperatives in the region, but also for producing quality cooperatives.
During the 11th Benguet Cooperative Convention on Oct. 20 at the La Trinidad municipal gym CDA-CAR Asst. Director Felicidad Cenon said there are 424 cooperatives from the 13 towns that are registered with the CDA.
La Trinidad has the highest with 148, followed by Itogon with 61, Tuba with 33, Buguias with 31, Atok and Kapangan with 24 each, Tublay with 21, Mankayan with 20, Bakun with 17, Kabayan and Kibungan with 15 each, Sablan with 10, and Bokod with five registered cooperatives.
The number of cooperatives does not necessarily equate to the success of the program as it depends on the performance of each coop.
Cenon cited Bokod having the least number of coops in the province but it has produced one of the millionaire coops in the country – the Bokod Sulphur Spring Multipurpose Cooperative.
La Trinidad is also home to different outstanding cooperatives such as the Benguet State University and Community Multipurpose Cooperative, the Baguio-Tomay Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association MPC, La Trinidad Vegetable Trading Post MPC, Universal MPC, and Tomay Credit Cooperative, among other coops.
The total assets of cooperatives in Benguet is the highest compared to other provinces in the region, with an approximate of P8.1 billion for 2019, P9.5B for 2020, and P1.4B for 2021.
Cenon said membership in coops in Benguet is also growing.
As of 2021, there are 175,428 members from around 153,000 in 2022 and 129,00 in 2019.
In terms of employment generation, the various coops still need to work on getting regular employees.
In 2019, there are 1,646 employees in various coops in the region then increased to 1,893 in 2020 before it decreased to 1,307 in 2021.
Many cooperatives are still implementing the principle of volunteerism in their organizations, especially in the micro and small coops.
Cenon said the challenge now is the compliance of the 424 registered cooperatives, where almost half are non-compliant with requirements.
She said there are only 185 certificates of compliance issued as of 2021.
A total of 16 cooperatives were also commended during the convention for their performance and best practices that propelled their organization from a lower level to higher level category. – Ofelia C. Empian