San Quintin is a developing municipality in the eastern part of Pangasinan at the foot of the vast and panoramic Caraballo Mountains. It is blessed with a jewel-blue stream called the Dipalo River, which serves as one of the sources of irrigation for the farmers.
The townsfolks are devout Catholics, thanks to the parish priests of the Saint Paschal Baylon Church.
The parishioners of San Quintin, Pangasinan saw the urgency of organizing a cooperative to provide the basic needs of poor farmers and help uplift their living conditions by reducing production cost and post-harvest losses through farm mechanization.
On March 3, 2003, through the guidance of the Rev. Fr. Aniceto G. Malanum, the Saint Paschal Baylon Multi-Purpose Cooperative was born. Four days later, it was registered at the Development Cooperative Authority (CDA), starting with 23 members who were mostly parishioners.
Just like any other cooperative, the SPBMPC also found running and managing its affairs real tough. Insufficiency of fund resulted to the loss of initiative among its officers.
“Naging inactive po kasi ang mga officers at members ng kooperatiba sa kadahilanang nagkaroon ng shortage of funds. Nahihirapan kaming i-provide iyong kailangan ng mga members kaya po parang nanlamig sila bagama’t tuloy-tuloy pa rin iyong operation,” recalls Mariano B. Marzan, the secretary of Saint Pascal Baylon Catholic Church.
But through the motivation and guidance of Rev. Fr. Malanum, the cooperative officers and members gave it another try. Through their strong determination, solidarity and patience, the SPBMPC slowly but steadily rose. It was re-registered under RA 9520 on January 28, 2010.
The provincial office the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in Pangasinan came to know about the SPBMPC in 2014. It conducted series of capability building seminars and workshops, including basic accounting, leadership trainings, basic cooperative management and record management.
“Malaki po ang pasasalamat namin sa DAR sapagkat talagang tinulungan po nila kami at ginabayan sa pagpapatakbo ng kooperatiba. Iyong mga seminars na dinaluhan namin ay nakatulong sa amin ng malaki. Hanggang ngayon po ay patuloy pa rin ang kanilang pagbibisita at pangungumusta kung ano na ang lagay o status ng koop naming,” Marzan says.
At present, the membership of the cooperative has grown to 611 and its paid-up capital reached P14,176,500. As of April 30, 2019, its total asset has gone up to P43,163,916.14.
Besides lending and savings and time-deposits, the cooperative is also into palay and rice milling and trading, having been accredited by the Department of Agriculture and National Food Authority. It is also licensed by the Fertilizers and Pesticide Authority to engage in farm inputs trading to farmer-members. Farm tractor rental is also the cooperative’s other source of income.
The success reaped by the SPBMPC did not escape the eyes of the Land Bank of the Philippines, which has offered it a P6-million credit line, while the Pangasinan Credit Surety Fund extends a P4 million.
For its continued and active support and participation in various organizations that promote the general welfare of the farmers, the cooperative had been cited as “Emerald Partner” of the Universal Harvester Incorporated and the Kabalikat ng Magsasaka in 2018.
The municipal government of San Quintin also lauded the cooperative for its invaluable and unwavering support that contributed to the growth and development of the Municipal Agricultural and Fisheries Council, while the Department of Trade and Industry commended it for being compliant to the Guidelines on the Recognition of Consumer Organization.
Saint Paschal Baylon MPC, indeed, has gone a long way from its humble beginning. The officers is fully aware that there are still a lot of things to do to sustain its progress and in realizing its vision “to provide an opportunity for the farming community, enjoy the fruit of its labor, raise the standard of living of all coop members, and serve and uplift their economic, physical, social and spiritual well-being.”