DURING the recent Senate deliberations on the budget of the Cooperatives Development Authority, Senator Imee Marcos disclosed that there are 19 billionaire cooperatives in the country. However, a report on the CDA’s official website shows that there are 56 billionaire cooperatives nationwide.

Among the top-performing cooperatives, the leading five are as follows: 1) ACDI Multi-Purpose Cooperative; 2) Air Force SSG Multi-Purpose Cooperative; 3) Panabo Multipurpose Cooperative; 4) Philippine Army Finance Center Producers Integrated Cooperative; and 5) First Community Cooperative. Notably, three out of these top five cater specifically to the AFP and other uniformed personnel, showcasing the stability associated with cooperatives in the defense sector. The reliable income of personnel in these sectors contributes to the steadfast growth of such cooperatives.

In contrast to industries susceptible to economic fluctuations, the defense sector provides a consistent income source for its members. Regular pay for AFP and uniformed services personnel ensures their continuous participation in and benefit from cooperative initiatives.

A prime example is ACDI, the largest cooperative in the country, boasting an asset base exceeding P50 billion. ACDI’s phenomenal growth from a mere P200,000 capital in 1981 to over P50 billion today underscores the transformative potential of cooperative endeavors. It serves active, retired, and reserve members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and other uniformed services, as well as civilian employees of the AFP and Philippine Coast Guard  and their dependents.

At the helm of cooperative success stories is the Cooperatives Development Authority, currently guided by the capable leadership of Undersecretary Joseph B. Encabo. Thanks to the initiative of Senator Koko Pimentel under Republic Works 2022, the CDA is set to move into a new 16-floor building in Cubao, Quezon City, with an estimated project cost of P301 million. Undersecretary Encabo anticipates its completion by August 2024.

While there is a reported decrease in the number of registered cooperatives nationwide from 60,000 to 20,000, Senator Marcos clarified that the intent was to integrate very small micro-cooperatives with limited assets and capacity into larger ones. Additionally, there is a concerted effort to establish new cooperatives, particularly in the coconut industry.

Presently, there are 20,105 registered cooperatives, boasting a total membership of 12.1 million individuals and providing employment to 334,300 people.

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