Mindanao is the product of financial hemorrhage. While the formal banking sector mobilizes the peoples'saving, local money is not used for local development but is plowed elsewhere. One Cooperative in Mindanao, specifically in Cagayan de Oro established its role in strengthening Mindanao's financial sector by building up its expertise in providing alternative financial system for the poor. The way, the cooperative movement will just not be visible but actually make significant impact on the important levels of politics and finance. That Cooperative is MASS-SPECC,(Mindanao Alliance of Self-Help Socieities Southern Philippines Educational Cooperative Center)Cooperative Development Center.
Moving "Good Clean Funds" on the other hand. was how the Central Loan Fund (CLF), a program under the Philippine Development Assistance Program (PDAP) marked the difference where formal credit facilities left off. lt was set up as an alternative mechanism that provides continuous access to credit among NCOs, POs and Cooperatives for their economic development activities.
In 1994,a Governing Board(GB) was formed to act as the highest policy making body and overseer of the Central Loan Fund(CLF).Said GB was composed of PDAP member organizations and 3 proponent representatives from Luzon,Visayas & Mindanao. It was during this time that the paths of the two organizations, MASS-SPECC and PDAP-CLF crossed,when MASS-SPECC became the Mindanao representative in the 68 MASS-SPECC was then represented by its former Executive Director,Cong. Guillermo Cua.
After 3 years of operation, the GB evaluated CLF's performance,found it viable and decided that it spun-off into a separate organization. A study has been conducted to determine the best structure that the spun-off CLF could adopt. The Cooperative structure best represented the values,principles pronounced by the CLF. Thus, in March 1998, twenty one (21) organizations registered as the founding cooperators of the spun-off entity, the Federation of Peoples' Sustainable Development Cooperative (FPSDC). Again, MASS-SPECC played a significant role on the birth of FPSDC being one of its founding incorporators.
Duringt he first six (6) years of FPSDC, MASS-SPECC has also actively participated in its governance by being a member of the Board. Cong. Guillermo P Cua, MASS-SPECC's representative was the first Chairperson of FPSDC.
The partnership empowered with common thrust between the two organizations even became stronger during the time when the country was plagued with inflation, long draught, power crisis and worldwide recession. MASS-SPECC stood still on their commitment of service to its people, with FPSDC on their side, they started the computerization of their credit and savings facility with the adoption of a customized coop banking software called the MASS-SPECC Standard RunTime Edition (MSRTE).
With an initial financial assistance of P500.000.00. MASS-SPECC was able to initiate the installation of computer hardware and software to some of its member cooperatives. Said project was aimed at improving the performance of the cooperatives through the timely generation of accurate reports for analysis, study and appropriate decision-making by the management and officers of its coop-beneficiaries.
With MASS-SPECC'S management adroitness, high repayment rate, the impact of the projects implemented and adherence to cooperative principles, continuous financial assistance has been provided to them by FPSDC. Such performance has qualified MASSSPECC to avail of the maximum single borrower's limit of P 6.0 million, which they continuously revolve until now. MASS-SPECC has reciprocated by increasing their FPSDC share capital contribution to a total of P1,000,000.00 by promoting FPSDC's services to other organizations, endorsing possible members to FPSDC, by paying all their due amortizations on time and by participating in all the capability building trainings conducted by FPSDC. Recognizing such active participation, MASS-SPECC has been classified by FPSDC as its Diamond member for Y2OO4. MASS-SPECC is the only member organizations of art that has reached such classification which can qualify them to other benefits that FPSDC may provide.
A total of P33.0 Million financial assistance has been disbursed by FPSDC in the past ten(lO) years. This partnership has been able to support agricultural production, agri& non-agri marketing and microenterprise credit of different Cooperatives in the areas of Aurora,Lanao, Osamis,Iligan, Butuan, General Santos and Cagayan de Oro.Although no concrete data has been gathered in terms of number of household beneficiaries assisted,there is no doubt that the said partnership has surely touched the lives of poor communities,particularly the Tri-people (Muslims, Lumads and Settlers) cooperators of Mindanao.
It has been a decade of partnership between MASS-SPECC and FPSDC.A partnership well nurtured by its conscious adherence to the principles of cooperativism and social equity. All these years, the partnershipp layed a very important part in establishing MASS-SPECC's role as a primary financial intermediary for cooperatives in Mindanao. As individual plans, targets and strategies are formulated by each organization in such a time when new prospects are seen and new paths are taken, their consolidated efforts to deal with the never ending problems of poverty and social injustices hall prompt both organizations to gear up and face the future with confidence,optimism and anticipation.
MASS-SPECC & FPSDC, a concrete model of an alliance for a cause.