26 October 2020, As delivered

Ladies and gentlemen, magandang araw po sa inyong lahat.

With the rest of the Philippines, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has always marked the month of October as Cooperative Month under Presidential Proclamation 493, series of 2003.

This year is notably significant as our very good friend, our super Senator, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, the champion of cooperatives in the Senate, has gotten Senate Bill No. 1807 marking October as National Cooperative Month approved last September 14. Thanks to Sen. Zubiri’s efforts, we can now celebrate and acknowledge the cooperative sector’s significant contributions to the country. Special thanks also to Congressman Ben Canama, who is our champion as well of the cooperatives sector in the House of Representatives.

As our country labors to recover in the face of COVID-19, DTI also recognizes the initiatives of cooperatives in helping our countrymen survive the economic challenges of the pandemic. That’s why we laud activities like today’s Online Market Day for cooperatives as it showcases the true Filipino Bayanihan spirit and ensures that none of our people are left behind in this global crisis.

As advocates of innovation, DTI is also pleased that cooperatives are pursuing digitization and bringing the products of our famers, fishermen, and merchants online. Digitalization is the way to go, this is not only the future, this is already happening now. Kaya po talaga tayo ay magsama-sama para mapalakas ang lahat ng mga negosyo, cooperatives, maging ang mga businesses online, through digitalization. And digitalization really is a great equalizer. Mapapantayan natin lahat ng mga ginagawa ng mga malalaking kumpanya by honing digital.

Likewise, this event promotes the concept of “buy cooperative products,” magandang programa po yan, this is similar to DTI’s own push for “Buy, Buy, Buy, Local,” “Buy Local, Go Lokal!” for Filipinos to patronize local brands and locally made products. Their quality products—with their remarkable cooperative identity and branding—is what will ensure the sustainability of this movement.

That’s why I call on Filipino consumers to patronize our cooperatives’ Online Market Day. As we adjust to the “New Normal” of going online shopping, let us create a “Better Normal” by supporting local products produced by our cooperatives.

By promoting “buy cooperative products” during National Cooperative Month and beyond, we can build back better in a post-COVID future for our country. This, in turn, will realize the promise of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte of giving all Filipinos a better quality of life, a more comfortable life.

Maraming salamat po at mabuhay tayong lahat!♦

Date of Release: 26 October 2020