The House Committee on Cooperatives Development has approved a substitute bill which provides for the mandatory appointment of a cooperatives officer in every municipality, province and city to ensure the concerns of cooperatives in these local government units (LGUs) match the sustainable economic development plans of the government.
The committee chaired by Rep. Rico Geron (Party-list, AGAP) approved House Bill 5682 or the proposed “An Act Making The Position of A Cooperatives Officer Mandatory in the Municipal, City And Provincial Levels, Amending For the Purpose Republic Act No.7160, otherwise Known As The Local Government Code of 1991.”
House Bill 5682 substituted HBs 188, 259, 2285 and 2824 authored, respectively, by Deputy Minority Leader Rep. Anthony Bravo (Party-list, COOP NATCCO), Reps. Roy Loyola (5th District, Cavite), Carlito Marquez (Lone District, Aklan), and Estrellita Suansing (1st District, Nueva Ecija).
Bravo said cooperatives promote the “fullest participation of all people” and facilitate a more equitable distribution of the benefits of globalization.
To answer the clamor, Bravo said RA 7160 allows for the appointment of cooperatives officers to take charge of the office for the development of cooperatives, among others.
“However, the words of the law were vague and the implementation became optional on the part of the LGUs, resulting in either LGUs with cooperatives officers who serve other functions or no cooperatives officers at all. In the long run, the cooperatives sector will be left to suffer by this inverse proportional line towards success,” said Bravo.
Suansing said the Constitution provides for the promotion of growth and viability of cooperatives as instruments of equity, social justice and economic development under the principles of subsidiarity and self-help.
“Cooperatives play a significant role in our country’s local economic development, especially in rural areas where the absence of large spending power does not attract private investment. Given the importance of cooperatives, it is therefore imperative to amend RA 7160 to provide for the mandatory appointment of a cooperatives officer in every LGU in the country,” said Suansing.
Suansing said the proposal hurdled third and final reading during the 16th Congress.
Loyola said the bill confirms the importance of cooperatives in bringing sustainable economic development to the country. Loyola said in order to maximize its potential, LGUs should be at the forefront of fostering creation and growth of cooperatives by the provision of technical guidance, financial assistance, and other similar services to enable cooperatives to develop into viable and responsive economic enterprises.
The bill seeks to amend Article 443, Book III, Title Two Chapter 2 of RA 7160, so that “There shall be in each municipality a municipal mayor, a municipal vice-mayor, sangguniang bayan members, a secretary to the sangguniang bayan, a municipal treasurer, a municipal assessor, a municipal accountant, a municipal budget officer, a municipal planning and development coordinator, a municipal engineer/building official, a municipal health officer, a municipal civil registrar, and a municipal cooperatives officer.”
Likewise, the bill seeks to amend Article 454, Book III, Title Three, Chapter 2 of RA 7160 so that “There shall be in each city a mayor, a vice-mayor, sangguniang panlungsod members, a secretary to the sangguniang panlungsod, a city treasurer, a city assessor, a city accountant, a city budget officer, a city planning and development coordinator, a city engineer, a city health officer, a city civil registrar, a city administrator, a city legal officer, a city veterinarian, a city social welfare and development officer, a city general services officer, and a city cooperatives officer.”
The bill also seeks to amend Article 463, Book III, Title four, Chapter 2 of RA 7160, so that “ There shall be in each province a governor, a vice-governor, members of the sangguniang panlalawigan, a secretary to the sangguniang panlalawigan, a provincial treasurer, a provincial assessor, a provincial accountant, a provincial engineer, a provincial budget officer, a provincial planning and development coordinator, a provincial legal officer, a provincial administrator, a provincial health officer, a provincial social welfare and development officer, a provincial general services officer, a provincial agriculturist, a provincial veterinarian, and a provincial cooperatives officer.”
Moreover, it seeks to amend Section 484, Book III, Title Five, Article 14 of RA 7160 so that “A) No person shall be appointed cooperatives officer unless one is a citizen of the Philippines, a resident of the LGU concerned, of good moral character, a holder of a college degree preferably in Business Administration with special training in cooperatives or any related course from a recognized college or university, and a First Grade Civil Service Eligible or its equivalent. One must have experience in cooperatives organization and management of at least five years in the case of a provincial or city cooperatives officer and three years in the case of a municipal cooperatives officer; B) The Cooperatives Officer shall take charge of the Office for the Development of Cooperatives; and C) Exercise such other powers and perform such other duties and functions as may be prescribed by law or ordinance.”
Other authors of HB 5682 are Reps. Sabiniano Canama (Party-list, COOP NATCCO), Carlos Roman Uybarreta (Party-list,1-CARE), Wilter Wee Palma II (1st District, Zamboanga Sibugay), Ramon Rocamora (Lone District, Siquijor), Henry Ong (2nd District, Leyte), and Vicente Veloso (3rd District, Leyte), among others.