The coop that touches lives

Cawayan II Farmers’ Multi-Purpose Cooperative (C2FMPC) distributes food and non-food items to showcase their gratitude to their members and provide additional aid in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the southernmost region of Quezon Province, there is a cooperative that passionately lends its hand to its members and other farmers to improve their economic lives. The Cawayan II Farmers’ Multi-Purpose Cooperative (C2FMPC), a Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR)-assisted cooperative.

Aside from being a progressive cooperative, it is also a cooperative that touches lives.

Among those whom the cooperative has touched lives was Nemesio Nosce, an agrarian reform beneficiary (ARB) who received various support from the C2FMPC.

“I am so thankful that I am a member of this coop, through their help and services, I was able to finance the needed capital for my crops such as banana, coconut, and corn. I also invested in animal production, especially on pigs, chickens, and others,” Nosce said.

He proudly said that through the C2FMPC, he managed to build a house in Barangay Cawayan II, and from the profits he gained from his farming, he was able to support his children’s education.

“What I appreciate most about this coop was how they care for their members, especially during calamities. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, C2FMPC took care of us by regularly providing us with 10kgs. of rice, canned goods, noodles, and Php2,000 cash as part of their pandemic response,” he disclosed.

C2FMPC also provides life insurance and other benefits to its members. They regularly conduct house visits to check on their members and provide help if needed.

Currently, 1,527 members are enjoying the full benefits of what the cooperative offers.

Cawayan II Farmers’ Multi-Purpose Cooperative (C2FMPC) distributes food and non-food items to showcase their gratitude to their members and provide additional aid in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The progressive coop

As of 2021, C2FMPC had accumulated an estimate of Php55-million in assets, Php38-million in liabilities, Php14-million in share capital, and Php4-million in savings.

Their microfinance business was an important factor in the growth of the coop, especially in terms of assets. Their huge number of loans released and sub-borrowers further proved that the microfinance operations had been patronized not only by its members but also by their ARBs and other farmers from the 12 municipalities in the 3rd District of Quezon who eventually joined the cooperative.

The coop could offer loans to members with a minimum of Php25,000 and a maximum of Php50,000. Because of the coop’s continuous payment of loans, the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) has reciprocated by increasing its credit line. In 2020, it has reached a staggering Php29-million loan package which they have already fully paid.

This only showed that Cawayan II’s microfinance services are fully supported by financial institutions because of their commitment to pay off their loans resulting in the increase in the loans being offered to them. For this year alone, the cooperative has a credit line of Php40-million.

The beginning

In October 2003, 25 ARBs from Barangay Cawayan II in San Francisco, Quezon II, established the Cawayan II Farmers’ Auto-Savings Group under the INACAWAYAN Agrarian Reform Community (INACAWAYAN ARC) to help its members and other farmers in sustaining their farms and livelihoods.

As implied by its name, savings and lending operations were the first business venture of the cooperative through the borrowing of capital needed from various financial institutions such as the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) and United Coconut Planters’ Bank (UPCB).

They began with Php25,000 savings. But with their drive and passion to offer more to its members and improve the farming practices in their community, the organization managed to pool Php50,000 which resulted in UCPB approving their Php100,000 loan for their microfinance business.

With this capital, the organization’s microfinance created a buzz among the masses and boosted their membership.

Officers and members of C2FMPC outside their newly refurbished building in Quezon II.  

Because of the improvement in their standings, the cooperative acquired several assets that helped them in their operations.

According to C2FMPC Manager Salvacion R. Dugan, the cooperative managed to construct a 3-storey building as their base of operations in San Francisco, Quezon. Moreover, C2FMPC also built a consumer store on the first floor of the building.

Another asset that the cooperative had acquired is a van which they use during out-of-town seminars or events. As an additional income generator, the coop offered the van for rent when not in use. Aside from this, they also own three motorcycles, which they use to visit and check on their members, particularly those who are residing far from the cooperative.

The challenges

C2FMPC Chairwoman Loida Hilario divulged that the coop had experienced difficulties just like any coop and organization.

“We had been consistently providing loans to our members, but there were times the amount loaned cannot suffice for their needs, and members had difficulties paying for their loans. We also had limited knowledge on microfinance then,” she said.

However, a window of opportunity opened up for the cooperative in 2014 when they were chosen to participate in the “DAR-CARD”, a program partnership by the DAR and CARD Bank Inc. in which cooperatives and organizations are taught about the new advances in technologies on microfinance.

C2FMPC underwent various training and seminars on how to further improve their knowledge and skills in microfinance.

“The impact of the program has not only changed and developed our methods but also opened doors for the cooperative. Membership had skyrocketed, and the range of members had expanded as well. Aside from the ARBs and farmers in the INACAWAYAN Agrarian Reform Community (ARC), neighboring municipalities such as Mulanay and San Andres are coming, availing of our services, which resulted to a positive change in the financial situation of our organization,” she revealed.

Hilario stressed that they managed to rise not only by helping the farmers but also with the help coming from the members themselves.

“We derive our strength by seeing our members succeed in their lives. We know that there are many problems that will come but knowing that our members continue to rely on us, and the DAR on our side, we will overcome anything that comes our way,” she asserted.

Ang kooperatibang may malasakit

Sa katimugang bahagi ng Quezon Province, may isang kooperatiba na masigasig na nagbibigay ng tulong sa mga kasapi nito at iba pang magsasaka upang mapagbuti ang kanilang mga pangkabuhayan. Ito ay ang Cawayan II Farmers’ Multi-Purpose Cooperative (C2FMPC), ang kooperatibang inaalalayan ng Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).

Bukod sa pagiging progresibo nito, ang kooperatiba rin ay may malasakit sa mga tao.

Kabilang sa mga natulungan ng kooperatiba ay si Nemesio Nosce, isang agrarian reform beneficiary (ARB) na nakatanggap ng iba’t ibng suporta mula sa C2FMPC.

“Ang laki ng pasasalamat ko dahil kasapi ako ng kooperatibang ito. Sa pamamagitan ng tulong at serbisyo nila, nabigyan ako ng puhunan na kinakailangan ko sa mga tanim gaya ng saging, buko at mais. Nagkaroon din ako ng animal production tulad ng babuyan at manukan,” ani Nosce.

Ipinagmamalaki niya na sa tulong ng C2FMPC ay nakapagpatayo siya ng bahay sa Barangay Cawayan II at mula sa mga kinikita niya sa pagsasaka ay naitaguyod niya ang pag-aaral ng kanyang mga anak.

“Ang higit kong pinahahalagahan sa coop na ito ay kung paano nila pinangangalagaan ang kanilang mga kasapi lalo na sa panahaon ng kalamidad. Gaya noong kasagsagan ng pandemyang Covid-19, regular kaming binibigyan ng C2FMPC ng 10kgs. ng bigas, de-lata, noodles at Php,000 na pera bilang tugon sa pandemya,” paglalahad niya.

Nagbibigay din ang C2FMPC ng life insurance at iba pang benepisyo sa mga kasapi nito. Regular nilang binibisita ang mga kasapi upang suriin ang kanilang mga miyembro at magbigay ng tulong kung kinakailangan.

Sa kasalukuyan, may 1,527 kasapi ang kooperatiba na nakikinabang sa organisasyon.

Ang progresibong kooperatiba

Noong 2021, ang C2FMPC ay nakaipon ng Php55-milyon sa asset nito, Php38-milyon sa liability, Php14-milyong share capital, at Php 4-milyong naitatabing pera.

Ang kanilang microfinance business ay isang malaking naging dahilan upang tumaas ang kanilang samahan lalo na sa asset nito. Ang laki ng halagang nilabas sa pautang at likom sa mga humihiram ay patunay na ang the microfinance operations ay tinatangkilik hindi lamang ng mga miyembro, kundi maging ng kanilang pinalawak na mga ARB at iba pang magsasaka mula sa 12 munisipalidad ng 3rd District ng Quezon na sa huli ay sumali sa kooperatiba.

Ang kooperatiba ay nakapagbibigay ng pautang kung saan ang pinakamababa ay Php25,000 at pinakamataas ang Php50,000. Dahil sa kanilang tuluy-tuloy at nasa oras na pagbabayad, ang Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) ay nagbigay ng mas mataas na credit line. Noong 2020, umabot ito sa Php29M loan package kung saan ito ay nabayaran na nila ng buo.

Ito ay pagpapakita na ang microfinance service ng Cawayan II ay ganap na sinusuportahan ng mga institusyong pinansyal dahil sa kanilang gawain na pagbabayad ng kanilang mga utang na nagresulta sa pagtaas ng mga pautang na iniaalok sa kanila. Sa kasalukuyan, ang kooperatiba ay may credit line na Php40-milyon.

Ang Simula

Noong Oktubre 2003, 25 na mga ARB mula sa Barangay Cawayan II isa San Francisco, Quezon II, ang nagtatag ng Cawayan II Farmers’ Auto-Savings Group sa ilalim ng INACAWAYAN Agrarian Reform Community (INACAWAYAN ARC) upang matulungan ang mga kasapi at iba pang magsasaka na mapanatili ang kanilang mga sakahan at pangkabuhayan.

Gaya ng ipinahihiwatig ng pangalan nito, ang savings at pagpapautang ang pangunahin nitong pinagkakakitaan sa tulong ng Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) at United Coconut Planters’ Bank (UPCB).

Nagsimula sila sa Php25,000 sa savings. Dahil sa kanilang pagpupursige na makapagbigay pa sa mga miyembro at mapaunlad ang pagsasaka sa komunidad, ang organisasyon ay nakakuha ng Php50,000 na nagresulta sa pag-apruba ng UCPB sa kanilang Php100,000 na pautang para sa kanilang microfinance business.

Sa capital na ito, ang microfinance ng organisasyon ay nagsimulang magparami ng kanilang mga kasapi.

Dahil sa pag-angat ng kanilang estado, nakakuha ang kooperatiba ng iba pang mga asset na nakatulong sa kanilang mga operasyon.

Ayon kay C2FMPC Manager Salvacion R. Dugan, ang kooperatiba ay nakapagpatayo ng 3-palapag na gusali bilang base ng kanilang operasyon sa San Francisco, Quezon. Nakapagpagawa rin ang C2FMPC ng consumer store sa unang palapag ng gusali.

Ang isa pang asset ng kooperatiba ay ang van na ginagamit nila sa mga seminar o aktibidad sa labas ng bayan. Bilang karagdagang kita, pinarerentahan ng kooperatiba ang van kapag ito ay hindi ginagamit. Mayroon din silang tatlong motorsiklo na ginagamit nila sa pagbisita at pag check sa kanilang mga miyembro, partikular ang mga nakatira sa malalayong lugar.

Ang hamon

Inilahad ni C2FMPC Chairwoman Loida Hilario na ang kooperatiba ay nakaranas din ng mga problema gaya ng ibang organisasyon.

“Patuloy kaming nakapagpapautang sa mga kasapi, subalit may pagkakataong hindi sapat ang halagang ipinahiram sa kanilang mga pangangailangan, at mayroon ding mga pagkakataon na nahihirapan ang mga miyembro na makabayad sa kanilang mga utang. Limitado rin ang kalaaman namin noon sa microfinance,” aniya.

Noong 2014, nagbukas ang oportunidad sa kanila ng makisali sila sa “DAR-CARD”, isang partnership program ng DAR at ng CARD Bank Inc. kung saan ang kooperatiba ay tinuruan ng mga makabagong kaalaman at teknolohiya sa microfinance.

Ang C2FMPC ay dumaan sa iba’t ibang pagsasanay at seminar kung paano mapagbubuti ang kanilang kakayahan at kalaman sa microfinance.

“Ang epekto ng programa ay hindi lamang nabago at nakabuo ng aming pamamamaraan, ngunit nagbukas din ng pintuan para sa kooperatiba. Ang bilang ng mga kasapi ay tumaas at ang hanay ng mga miyembro lumawak din. Bukod sa mga ARB at mga magsasaka ng INACAWAYAN Agrarian Reform Community (ARC), sumapi rin ang iba pang mga bayan sa Mulanay at San Andres upang sila ay maserbisyuhan, na nagbigay ng positibong pagbabago sa sitwasyong pinansyal ng aming organisasyon,” ani Hilario.

Binigyang diin ni Hilario na nakabangon sila hindi lamang sa pagtulong sa mga magsasaka kundi sa tulong na din mismo ng mga miyembro nito.

“Kumukuha kami ng lakas sa tuwing nakikita namin ang pag-asenso ng mga kasapi. Alam namin na marami pang mga problemang darating, ngunit dahil alam namin na kinakailangan tayo ng mga magsasaka, at kasama namin ang DAR, mapagtatagumpayan namin ang anumang balakid sa aming daraanan,” pagtatapos niya.