Co-ops to field Senate candidates

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The country’s cooperative movement has agreed to form a political party–1Co-op Party–and field senatorial bets in the 2016 elections.

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The decision was reached recently after the cooperative movement realized it needs more political representation “for cooperatives to be more effective in fulfilling [their]mandate as instrument[s]of social justice and economic growth,” Rep. Cris Paez of Coop-Natcco party-list said.

Cooperative party-lists have at least five representatives in the House Representatives, with Coop-Natcoo and Agap having two representatives each and Butil with one.

Rep. Anthony Bravo, also of Coop-Natcco, said the cooperative party has the support of the party-list coalition in Congress that is composed of 40 party-list representatives.
Rep. Rico Geron of Agap said the cooperative movement has the capacity to make its senatorial candidates win.

The challenge, he added, is how to convert the country’s cooperative numbers into votes.
There are 24,652 registered cooperatives in the country as of December 31, 2014 with over 13 million members nationwide.

Among those mentioned as possible senatorial candidates of the 1Co-op Party are Paez, who is now in his 3rd and last term as Coop-Natcco representative, retired Brig. Gen. Gilbert Llanto of the ACDI Multi-purpose Cooperative and Norma Pereyras of the Tagum Cooperative.

The candidates will be fielded as independents.

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