EXTRAORDINARY TIMES CALL FOR EXTRAORDINARY MEASURES. For Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) Chairman, Undersecretary Joseph “Joy” B Encabo, the new challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic led to radical solutions in the delivery of CDA’s programs to former rebels (FRs).
Undersecretary Joseph B. Encabo, Chairman of Cooperative Development Authority (CDA), encouraged former rebels (FRs) who have returned to mainstream society to organize themselves into cooperatives and take advantage of the various livelihood and socio-economic growth programs for them.
In his interview in the radio-television program of Task Force Balik-Loob (TFBL), “Balik-Loob sa Pagbabago,” aired over DWDD (1134kHz) AFP Radio and KTVQ2 Cable Channel 107, Undersecretary Encabo shared how his agency had been adopting measures to deliver the services and programs to its clienteles, especially FRs, amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have to think out of the box regarding how to handle our programs and projects that will be appreciated by our clients. All we have to do is follow the basic protocols of the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases),” explained the CDA Chair. “If there is an opportunity, grab it; because hindi mo na alam kung kailan ang oportunidad babalik sa iyo. So we have to take the opportunity in doing so because people need the government.”
According to Undersecretary Encabo, ever since the pandemic started, his agency had been going to different locales using its linkages like the local government units (LGUs) to transfer the assistance and programs to the cooperatives. He said that the CDA took advantage of the available information technology and heeded the prevailing health guidelines to match the level of intervention that the agency provides to the communities.
Undersecretary Encabo also conveyed his appreciation for FRs who have availed the assistance under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) and were already organized into cooperatives. For the CDA Chair, this showed their openness, bravery, and willingness to work for the improvement of their lives as they returned to the fold of the law.
To date, there are a total of 527 FR people’s organizations or cooperatives nationwide. The CDA Chair shared the success story of FRs in Isabela City who were organized into the San Pablo Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Balik-Loob Marketing Cooperative. According to Undersecretary Encabo, the cooperative has 90 participative and active FR members organized in 2011 and became a cooperative in 2017. With the assistance of CDA and the Department of Agrarian Reform, the cooperative is believed to have an asset of PHP3.3 million.
“Alam niyo, ang mga FRs marami sa kanila, matatalino, magagaling, masisipag. Alam ko po na magiging additional force sila sa ating community,” he said, adding that he has high hopes for FRs and highly encouraged the public to accept them with open arms.
Undersecretary Encabo explained that FRs who wish to engage in cooperatives must have at least 15 members and may apply at the regional offices of the CDA through their LGUs, or through the innovative “Byaheng Koop” initiative. Under this program, the CDA will go to the communities and provide the needed technical assistance to help the cooperatives succeed. This assistance includes, but is not limited to, training in relation to the fundamentals of cooperatives, financial management, basic bookkeeping, business community program and skills training, among others. To further aid FRs, the CDA shall also take part in the monitoring, evaluation, and inspection process to ensure the development of FRs' cooperatives.
For Undersecretary Encabo, E-CLIP should continue in the next administration as this provided concrete programs for FRs. “For me, this is the whole-of-nation approach. Kailangan nating lahat mag-contribute at i-consolidate ang ating kapasidad at kakayahan upang mabigyan linaw ang mga FRs na merong programa na para sa kanila,” he concluded.
E-CLIP is the reintegration program by the government facilitated through the different lead and partner agencies to assist former members of the communist terrorist group and violent extremist groups who surrendered and decided to reintegrate back into mainstream society.