Go to cooperatives: Help communities respond to COVID-19

(The Philippine Star) - April 7, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — To help communities in responding to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) emergency, Sen. Bong Go appealed to the country’s cooperatives to utilize their Community Development Fund (CDF) in order to contribute to the government’s efforts to fight the disease and help their respective community members mitigate the socio-economic impact of the crisis.

“Hinihikayat po natin ang ating mga kooperatiba na gamitin ang kanikanilang community development fund upang mas lalo pang mapalakas at mapalawig ang paglaban natin sa mga banta ng COVID-19,” the Senate committee on health and demography chair said.

Go suggested that the fund may be used for projects that will benefit the community during the enhanced community quarantine. These may include the provision of food packs, vitamins, alcohol, soap, personal protective equipment for medical frontliners, and other basic necessities to be distributed to those in dire need of help.

The senator, who also sits as a member of the Joint Oversight Committee overseeing the implementation of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, cited the unpredictability and uncertainty of the COVID-19 situation in the country as the reason for his appeal. He has continuously reiterated that a “whole-of-society” approach is needed in combatting the public health emergency.

“We all need to help our community. We are all having difficulty and want to overcome this crisis,” Go explained his advocacy for bayanihan. 

Under Article 86 (3) of Republic Act No. 9520 or the “Philippine Cooperative Code of 2008,” cooperatives are mandated “to allocate not less than three per centum (3%) Cooperative Development Fund from its annual net surplus.”

The memo further states that “food packs, vitamins, alcohol, soap and other basic necessities may be distributed to those community members who are in dire need of help but with adherence to safety protocols, and ensuring that the procurement of these goods will not shortchange the members.”

It also suggests the use of the cooperatives’ Optional Fund for the benefit of their members and employees. This, however, must later on be confirmed by the General Assembly. Under Article 86 (4) of RA 9520, the optional fund shall not exceed seven per centum (7%) of the cooperatives’ net surplus.

Cooperatives are also encouraged to extend emergency or calamity loans at interest-free or minimal rates of interest to their members, enabling them to meet their needs. These loans are subject to the lending policies of the cooperative.

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