Aiming to extend technology solutions to agricultural cooperatives which are dominant in Mindanao region, the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) has expressed in its recent public consultation with various cooperatives and stakeholders their intention to create a special type of secondary cooperative called Technology Service Cooperative.
This move is poised to help Mindanao-based “Farmers’ Co-op” lacking access to technology resources to embrace digital transformation with technologies that can be integrated not only in fintech products but also in other aspects of different types of businesses of Mindanao cooperatives under CDA.
Envisioned to be composed of at least 15 registered cooperatives, the Technology Service Cooperative shall offer technology services to members.
“The organized cooperatives are expected to pool their resources so as to introduce technological innovations, particularly in supporting cooperatives across the country through e-commerce, portals and innovative ways of bridging the gap in market access,” said Assistant Secretary Myrla Paradillo, CDA Acting Administrator and Board Member III, in her welcome address.
“This step is a response to the changing needs of the sector,” added Assistant Secretary Vidal Villanueva III, Head of the CDA’s Credit and Financial Services, Banking, Insurance, and Credit Surety Fund Cooperatives Cluster. “This is also a clear demonstration that CDA is receptive and flexible to what is beneficial to the sector and community in general.”
While some cooperatives—particularly the bigger ones—have already started their own digital systems, there is still room to improve their smaller counterparts’ access to online services. “The special type of cooperative will give us the opportunity to build the digital infrastructure for our movement,” Villanueva said.
“One of the dreams of Philippine cooperatives is to be part of the national payment management system,” Villanueva noted. “To be able to do that, the special type of cooperative needs to comply with the requirements of other regulatory bodies—in particular, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.”
During the meeting, the CDA also presented the draft circular on the guidelines for registration of this special type of cooperative.
The CDA consultative forum and forthcoming circular were a welcome development for many of the online participants.
Leaders of digiCOOP Technology Service Cooperative (DTSC)— the first to organize and apply for registration under this special type of cooperative—were among those who shared their views during the forum and praised CDA for its initiatives.
The DTSC leaders included Fr. Anton Pascual, executive director of Caritas Manila; MGEN Gilbert Llanto (Ret.), chairperson of the ACDI Multipurpose Cooperative; Roy S. Miclat, president of 1 Cooperative Insurance System of the Philippines (1CISP); Isagani Daba, First Community Cooperative (FICCO) representative; and Traxion Technology Services Cooperative’s Ann Cuisia, visionary and proponent of the digiCOOP platform of DTSC.
The Cooperative Development Authority is a proactive and responsive lead government agency for the promotion of sustained growth and full development of the Philippines cooperatives for them to become broad – based instruments of social justice, equity and balanced national progress.
digiCOOP is the first Philippine technology platform focused and dedicated for cooperatives that aims to “RevolutiUnite” the Philippine cooperative sector through digitalization of banking and finance, insurance and healthcare, e-commerce and value chain, and management and logistics using the latest technologies particularly AI and Blockchain.
DTSC, the first technology service cooperative, aims to be a model cooperative federation for similar endeavors in Asia and beyond.