Philippines pass new law to empower co-op sector

Change will 'further promote co-ops as an effective tool in achieving inclusive growth', say lawmakers

The president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, has signed a law that re-organises the country’s Co-operative Development Authority (CDA), giving it greater power to promote co-ops.

The Co-operative Development Authority Charter of 2019 repeals a previous law that was passed in 1990 to revise the CDA’s charter.

“The state recognises co-operatives as associations organised for the economic and social betterment of their members, operating business enterprises based on mutual aid, and founded upon internationally accepted co-operative principles and practices,” says the new law.

“The state also recognises the right of the co-operatives to initiate and foster within their own ranks co-operative promotion, organisation, training, information gathering, audit and support services, with government assistance where necessary.”

Under the new law, the CDA will be an attached agency of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). It will adopt and implement co-operative development programmes and supervise all co-ops registered with the agency.

The new law has also modified the CDA’s composition. The previous board of administration has been replaced with a board of directors – comprising six directors and a chairperson. Each director will represent a different co-op sector: 

  • Credit and financial services, banking and insurance
  • Consumers, marketing, producers and logistics
  • Human services: health, housing, workers and labour services
  • Education and advocacy
  • Agriculture, agrarian, aquaculture, farmers, dairy and fisherfolk
  • Public utilities: electricity, water, communications and transport

The board will also function as a policy-making body, as well as an adjudicating body for cases brought before them.

Senate majority leader Juan Miguel F Zubiri, who chairs the Senate Committee on Co-operatives, wrote and sponsored the new law. He said: “This will respond to the clamour of the co-operative sector, to make the Co-operative Development Authority more responsive to the needs of the sector and further promote co-ops as an effective tool in achieving inclusive growth.”

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