Coop-NATCCO Partylist to Cebu cooperatives: Help us

By: Doris C. Bongcac April 27,2022 - 10:28 AM

(From left) Macario Quevedo, executive consultant of Cebu People’s Multi-Purpose Cooperative (CPMPC)  and chairperson of Peoples Jeep Transport Cooperative; Manolito Ardimer, chairperson of CPMPC; Felimon Espares, 1st nominee of Coop-NATCCO Partylist; Dr. Divina Quemi, partylist 2nd nominee; and Brian P. Yap, CPMPC president and CEO. | Contributed photo

MANDAUE CITY, Cebu — The number of votes that they had been getting from the different cooperatives in the country had been dwindling in the last three elections.

From garnering about a million votes and after winning two seats in the House of Representatives in 2010, Coop-NATCCO Partylist was left with only one seat and votes of about 400,000 in the 2019 elections, said Felimon Espares, the partylist’s first nominee.

Espares said the decline in the number of votes that they had been getting in the 2013, 2016 and 2019 elections resulted from several factors like the continuous increase in the number of partylists joining the elections and vote buying,

“Gusto natin tong iparamdam talaga. Dapat kasing isipin ngayon na hikahos ang aning Coop-NATCCO partylist,” Espares said during the Cooperative Leaders Forum held on Tuesday, April 26.

(We want you to understand all these.  You have to realize that Coop-NATCCO is now in dire need of your help.)

Espares, who is also CEO of the Barbaza Multi-Purpose Cooperative that is based in Region 6, said there are about 11 million coop membership in the country but they only got 400,000 votes in the last election, “so bang usapan na yan.” (so that’s a different story.)

And if they do not get enough votes in the national and local elections on May 9, 2022, Espares said, their partylist would risk losing its seat in Congress and all the benefits that the cooperatives were now enjoying including tax exemptions.

Espares said a partylist had to earn at least 300,000 votes to win a seat in Congress.

Aggressive campaigning

To address the matter, Espares said, they were trying to be more aggressive this election. 

They had been visiting the different cooperatives in the country to campaign and make them understand the importance of having the Coop-NATCCO Partylist in Congress.

“Marami talaga ang hindi alam. Marami talaga ang hindi talaga naramdaman na may Coop-NATCCO Partylist. At lalo pa na kung tanungin natin kung may nagawa ba ang Coop-NATCCO Partylist sa sector, sa inyong cooperatiba at saka personality sa iba,” he said.

(Many don’t know. Many don’t feel that there is a Coop-NATCCO Partylist. And especially if you ask them what the Coop-NATCCO Partylist has done to the sector, to your cooperative and other personalities.)

During their Cebu visit, Dr. Divina Quemi, Coop-NATCCO’s second nominee and CEO of the Nueva Segovia Consortium Cooperation that is based in Ilocos Sur, said they visited former GSIS chairman and now CFI Cebu Community Cooperative Chairman Winston Garcia to solicit his support.

Priority Bills

If they win a seat in Congress, Coop-NATCCO representatives promise to push for the passage of priority legislation that will help members of the transport sector cope with the requirements under the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program and one that will provide loan funds to transport cooperatives.

Another bill that they hope to introduce is one that will require Local Government Units to allocate two percent of their development funds to the cooperatives.

But in order to do all these, Espares said, they would be needing the help of the different cooperatives in the country.

He asked participants of the Cebu assembly on Tuesday to cascade their discussions to all their members.

“Grabe ang ating gagawin this time. Malaking challenge. But then, kayang-kaya naman ng sektor yon basta sama-sama tayo na magtrabaho.

(We are planning to implement big changes this time. It’s a big change. But then the sector can easily hurdle this as long as we all work together.)


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