Ladies and gentlemen, magandang araw po sa inyong lahat!

First off, let me thank the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) for inviting us to be part of your activity today. On behalf of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) family, it is my pleasure to be here virtually as we formally open the Cooperative Month celebrations.

This year’s theme gives emphasis on the resilience shown by the cooperative sector despite the unprecedented crises brought by COVID-19 to the country’s business landscape. Even in the face of an ongoing global pandemic, your sector remains firmly committed to running your business operations and supporting our Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

Coops play a central role in our communities, particularly on the countryside. You are often the “financial frontliners” for those who have limited access to banks and government agencies.  It is laudable to know that there are almost 12M cooperative members with a collective total asset amounting to P573-B and a net surplus of P23.5-B. You are vital economic actors in the development of our countryside as you ensure that people can both participate in and benefit from our country’s economic growth.

For DTI, you are our essential allies in empowering MSMEs and extending government services to our MSMEs at the grassroots level who are based in far-flung areas of the country. Naaabot niyo po ninyo hanggang sa BARMM areas at sa iba pa pong dako ng ating bansa. These entrepreneurs are important contributors to our country’s inclusive and sustained economic growth strategy.

As we work together with CDA, DTI is also doing its part to support you in your mission to assist your respective communities. Nandiyan po ang mga programa natin under the Small Business Corporation (SBCorp), ‘yung Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-Asenso (P3) na cooperatives po ng CDA ang ka-partner natin. Ngayon din po we try to reach more MSMES sa pamamagitan ng COVID-19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises (CARES) program, microfinancing program din po iyan ng SBCorp para sa mga naapektuhan ng pandemic. Zero collateral, zero interest rate, and may grace period pa para matulungan ang businesses na makabalik sa lakas ng kanilang mga negosyo. 

Aside from microfinancing assistance, we also have other projects. We do programs like providing shared equipment through the Shared Service Facilities (SSF), mga iba pang sistema, accessories, as well as skills and knowledge development na binibigay po ng DTI, kasama ng mga ibang ahensya pati ang private sector partners.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte recognizes your contributions and efforts, and how organizing and working together can uplift the quality of life of a community. Kayo po talaga ang kapartner namin diyan. As he once said, “Nation-building is no easy task, and it is not the responsibility of government alone.” That is why we very are fortunate na kabalikat po natin ang cooperative movement as our partners in this endeavor.

You will always remain an integral partner of DTI in nation-building and empowering our people to achieve a better quality of life.

Kaya sa inyo pong lahat, sa CDA family, sa entire community ng cooperatives. Maraming salamat po, at mabuhay tayong lahat!

Date of Release: 01 October 2021