Co-ops deny support for LP Senate bet

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THE Philippine Cooperative Center (PCC) on Monday disputed the claim of COOP-NATCCO Rep. Cresente Paez that his senatorial bid under the Liberal Party (LP) has the full support of the country’s cooperative sector.

PCC Director Loreto L. Ramiro stressed that “the coop sector has not endorsed the candidacy of Rep. Cris Paez.”

Paez earlier said he is confident that he will win because he is banking on Coop-NATCCO’s estimated 13 million members. He said he expects the 24,000 cooperatives nationwide to deliver votes for him in 2016.

“I know I will win. You know why? With the first introduction of the party-list system was done way back in 1998, we said it’s high time for us to participate. So we put up the Coop-NATCCO party-list and we won. And in every election, we won,” Paez said in a television interview.


But Ramiro, during the Centennial Cooperative Unity Assembly held Tuesday, noted that “only the PCC, as the apex organization of the Philippine cooperative movement, has the right to speak for the whole sector.”

“Rep. Paez’s decision to run for the Senate is his alone, and while he belongs to a coop group, it would be presumptuous of him to assume that he has the support of all cooperatives nationwide,” he explained.

The PCC serves as a regular venue whereby cooperative organizations thresh out issues and arrive at common positions.

Ramiro, who is also the general manager of the Kabisig Savings and Agri-Development Cooperative and head of the Northern Luzon Federation of Cooperatives and Development Center (Norlu Cedec), said Paez was wrong in declaring that his Senate run has the support of all of the 24,000 coops nationwide and its 13 million individual members.

NORLU CEDEC is the biggest coop federation in Northern Luzon.

Coop leaders from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, on the other hand, reiterated their support for Sen. Grace Poe and Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero.

“The leadership of the Tagalog Cooperative Development Center (Tagcodec) supports the tandem of Senators Grace Poe and Chiz Escudero because they are committed to put up a Gobyernong may Puso that will espouse inclusive growth and will make sure nobody is left behind,” said Volet Pingo, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Tagcodec.

George Tadena, General Manager of Sto. Domingo Development Cooperative of Sto. Domingo, Ilocos Sur, said the tandem’s message “has connected with our members, who have not really felt the economic growth we are supposedly enjoying.”

“We are also encouraged by the positions Poe and Escudero have taken on issues like lowering the income tax and increasing SSS benefits; these show that the duo is committed to prioritizing the needs of common folk, many of whom are members of cooperatives like ours,” explained Norman Diaz, Chairman of Northern Samar Development Workers Cooperative in Catarman, Northern Samar.

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