Cooperatives to accelerate tech transformation

Lawrence Agcaoili - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — A special type of secondary cooperative is being established to hasten the technological transformation of the industry, according to the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA).

CDA acting administrator Myrla Paradillo said various cooperatives and stakeholders expressed interest in the creation of a special type of cooperative to be called Technology Service Cooperative.

“The organized cooperatives are expected to pool their resources so as to introduce technological innovations, particularly in supporting cooperatives across the country through e-commerce, portals and innovative ways of bridging the gap in market access,” Paradillo said during a recent public consultation.

The new cooperative, composed of at least 15 registered cooperatives, would offer technology services to members.

Vidal Villanueva III, head of the credit and financial services, banking, insurance, and Credit Surety Fund Cooperatives cluster of the CDA, said the step is a response to the changing needs of the sector.

“This is also a clear demonstration that CDA is receptive and flexible to what is beneficial to the sector and community in general,” Villanueva said.

While some cooperatives–particularly the bigger ones–have already started their own digital systems, there is still room to improve their smaller counterparts’ access to online services.

“The special type of cooperative will give us the opportunity to build the digital infrastructure for our movement. One of the dreams of Philippine cooperatives is to be part of the national payment management system,” Villanueva said.

Villanueva said the proposed special type of cooperative needs to comply with the requirements of other regulatory bodies, particularly the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

During the meeting, the CDA also presented the draft circular on the guidelines for registration of this special type of cooperative.

Leaders of digiCOOP Technology Service Cooperative (DTSC)-the first to organize and apply for registration under this special type of cooperative–were among those who shared their views during the forum and praised CDA for its initiatives.

The CDA is a proactive and responsive lead government agency for the promotion of sustained growth and full development of the Philippines cooperatives for them to become broad–based instruments of social justice, equity and balanced national progress.

The digiCOOP is the first Philippine technology platform focused and dedicated for cooperatives that aims to “RevolutiUnite” the Philippine cooperative sector through digitalization of banking and finance, insurance and healthcare, e-commerce and value chain, and management and logistics using the latest technologies, particularly artificial intelligence and blockchain.

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