Empowering Cooperatives: Building better lives through coop-eration

Amy Chua | August 31, 2017


Davao City is home to hundreds of cooperatives that have been set up with the principle that working together will help reach a common goal: well-run cooperatives towards helping communities grow. This brings to life the concept of ‘Bayanihan’ in the context of community-based enterprises.

However, we know that not all cooperatives succeed. Some struggle in managing its members or operations, while others are challenged in marketing their goods or services. But even when faced with various challenges, many of these cooperatives continue to persevere in the hope that with cooperativism, their enterprises will be successful and that this success will benefit their communities.

This is the reason why we in the Aboitiz Group have been helping cooperatives to be better managed and have more opportunities for income. Realizing this need to assist deserving cooperatives, we allocate 11% or PhP 31,256 of our CSR budget for projects on enterprise development, which includes the conduct of training workshops for these coops.

Papanatilihin namin ang pagiging responsable sa inyong mga donasyon para maging matagumpay ang negosyo namin sa bread and pastry (We will continue to be responsible for these donations so we can succeed in our own bread and pastry businesses).

-Menrado Intong Jr.,Chairperson, Sunshine Farmers and Community Multi-Purpose Cooperative

Recently, the members of the Adap Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Davao Ecoland Small Entrepreneurs Multi-Purpose Cooperative (DESEMULCO), and Sunshine Farmers Community Multi-Purpose Cooperative received a skills training on making fabric conditioner and liquid dishwashing to help widen their opportunities for livelihood. Also last June, the Aboitiz Foundation, in partnership with Aboitiz business units Pilmico, Therma South, Inc., and Davao Light turned over bakery kits and initial flour requirements to these cooperatives. These kits were donated by Pilmico.

From our initiatives, 25 cooperative members in Davao are now certified bakers after recently undergoing the NC II Training on Baking and Pastry Production at the Philippine Baking Institute in Davao City and received certification. Some of these bakers have already led the set-up of their respective cooperative’s bakeshop and eventually increased their capability to buy higher quality goods.

“It is our hope that our financial assistance will help you be self-reliant and your enterprises to succeed. We cannot provide support always so you should help yourselves. Your success story will be the success story of others, an inspiration for others,” added Fermin Edillon, Davao Light Community Relations Manager.

Sunshine Farmers and Community Multi-Purpose Cooperative proudly shares that after establishing its own bakery, the coop now earns PhP 3,800 -5,000 per day from the sale of assorted bakery bread. ADAP Cooperative, which is managed by differently-abled people, targets to open its bakeshop on September.


Coop members during the NC II Training on Bakery and Pastry Production

“We will continue to help you. We request that you take good care of the donation of the Aboitiz Foundation so that when we visit you, we will see that you deserve this assistance because you have the will to grow.

-Valentin S. Saludes III, TSI Vice President and Plant Manager.

 “Pagsikapan din natin na mapaunlad ang ating sarili ng sa gayun ay makatulong din tayo sa iba at ipakita natin na kaya natin magtagumapay sa kabila ng ating mga kapansanan,” (“Let us strive to empower ourselves so we can also empower others and prove we can overcome all difficulties despite physical challenges.”) said Geradine Gonzaga, ADAP Multi-Purpose Cooperative Chairperson.

“Unti-unti kaming natuto sa pamamagitan ng mga libreng trainings, mga computers at mga gamit pangluto na binibigay nila, malaki po ang pasasalamat namin sa inyo,” (“Slowly, we are learning through the free trainings, computers, and cooking utensils–we are very grateful for these.”) said Aida Magatao, DESEMULCO Chairperson.