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Saturday, July 13, 2024

Why Cooperativism Has come of Age?

Kim’s Dream  Orlan Ravanera

Liberation from the Fallacies of the Mundane

While the cooperatives nation-wide are celebrating Cooperative Month, as former USEC/CDA Chairman, may I share the truism that cooperativism has indeed come of age.  May I share first a poem that I composed during my stint as Chairman that won a national award when it was converted into a song, entitled, “The Wind of Change.”

The wind of change now hovering from the mountains to the cities/ From the hills to coastal communities, it is the dawn of a new day, in the land of the free/ For the people to be free from hunger and poverty/ That’s the mission of the cooperatives/ Amidst the darkness of helplessness and inequities/ We will light the torch of social justice and progress/ We are one cooperative family/ Highly committed to serve the poor and the oppressed/ Working for their liberation through cooperative revolution/ We will advocate we will empower/ we stand as one dedicate4d to serve/ Now social transformation in the offing/ Gaining headways, taking responsibilities/ Let us all be reminded of our impending victory/ The people united can never be defeated.

No one can stop the growth of cooperatives as cooperativism is an idea whose time has come not only in our country but in the whole world.  Why is this so? First of all, it behooves upon all of us to examine the present development paradigm which is based on the growth-at-all-cost development strategy known as the Neo-Liberal Capitalism, aptly called now as Corporate Globalization. That kind of global economic system that is only successful in sacrificing humanity and Mother Earth to the altar of greed and profit is like a giant-off-balance. So as not to fall, it has to run and in running, it steps on communities, forests, rivers, seas. Agricultural lands, the ozone layer, the iceberg and even on people themselves, leaving havoc on its path.

That AIDS-like development strategy that kills the Earth’s vital organs, advances unbridled materialism and consumerism based on an individual pursuit of wealth, fame and power for self-aggrandizement,  where money is used not to enhance the quality of life but to make more money.  In this country, you call that block capitalism where cartels and the oligarchs run the economy, owned by only 300 families.  In the world, under the regime of one percent, where the combined wealth of the one percent is far greater compared to the total assets of the 7,.2 billion people, the world’s population. In fact, the combined wealth of eight top billionaires in the United States equals the total assets of 3.6 billion people or half of the world’s population.  This is based on the Study of Oxfam.

Our country has become a dumping ground of finished product6s and the source of cheap raw materials, following an extractive economy.  Indeed, where have all our forest and minerals gone? Gone to highly industrialized countries as our country still maintains an exclusive and neo-colony status having been a colony of imperial powers for hundreds of years. Based on these painful socio-economic-ecological realities, there must be a change now being championed by the present dispensation.  An increasing number of people want change, but how?

Well, by nature, by nurture and by law, cooperatives are the ones to advance prosperity for all, their very essence is that of being members-owned, value-based and sustainable.  It is so amazing that in this age where development is just equated to economic growth, cooperatives are giving high adherence to human development, where developing human potentials is the priority.  In fact, out of the cooperatives’ surplus, about 10% is allocated for CETF (Cooperative Education and Training Fund), about 3% is allocated for CDF (Community Development Fund) and another 3% is allocated for Concerns for the Community.  These funds are used to feed malnourished children, rehabilitate the impaired eco-systems and in providing medical services to the Indigenous Peoples, to the poor and the vulnerable.

This is because cooperatives’ mindset is one that focuses on a person as an embodied spirit, more spirit than body.  Spiritual qualities of service, of democracy, of love, of intellectual prowess and spiritual values are the ones to be developed collectively and not the fallacies and capriciousness of the mundane for self-aggrandizement. Indeed, PAGLILINGKOD AT PAGMAMAHAL, that is the essence of cooperativism that has indeed come of age, to debunk the EGO known also as the devil that have put humanity in collective insanity.  



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