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Cebu cooperatives embrace future-proofing of their ecosystem

Dailly Guardian

Representatives from 15 medium and large cooperatives of Region VII gathered at the Cebu Parklane International Hotel in Cebu City on Oct 29, 2021 to gain insights on how to future-proof the cooperative sector against external shocks.

“The pandemic, which constrained our people’s mobility for almost two years now, has intensified the trend toward digitalization,” said Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) Region VII Director Doreen Ancheta in her message to the participants. The CDA is the government agency mandated to promote the viability and growth of cooperatives as instruments of equity, social justice, and economic development.

Engr. Ancheta noted that cooperatives are following the digitalization trend, although this is largely confined among the large ones only.

“Top cooperatives worldwide make use of technology to engage their members in governance and decision-making,” added resource speaker Ann Cuisia, who is the visionary behind digiCOOP, a technology platform dedicated to serving cooperatives. “Unfortunately, technological adoption in the local setting is still considered low,” she added.

Engr. Ancheta earlier echoed the same observation. “Digitalization is a natural progression for cooperative members that are part of the huge, [asset-rich] cooperatives. But how about the small and micro cooperatives? That is still the challenge for our country,” she said. In the Philippines, 54% of the cooperatives are classified as micro cooperatives. Altogether, they own only 2% of all cooperatives’ assets.

“We either digitize or die….But how do we future proof the cooperative sector? By partnering with the right technology platforms,” Ms. Cuisia said. “digiCOOP is one platform that aims to unite and serve multiple member-cooperative [in terms of improving their income streams]; and the individual members by building the latter’s own wealth through participation in a lively ecosystem [beyond their own cooperative].”

Complementing digiCOOP’s platform are the digiCOOP business centers that have started to emerge in the countrysides. The event also acknowledged the latest business centers that were launched in the main branches of Tekton Entre Multipurpose Cooperative (Cebu City), Sta. Monica Bukidnon Multi-purpose Cooperative (Bukidnon), And San Jose Multi-purpose Cooperative (Antique).

Other cooperatives represented at the event include the Perpetual Help Community Cooperative – Dumaguete, Metro Ormoc Community Cooperative, Cebu Market Vendors Multi-Purpose Cooperative, CORDOVA Multi-Purpose Cooperative, National Teachers and Employees Cooperative Bank, and Mandaue City Public Market Vendors Multi-Purpose Cooperative.

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