August 11, 2022

Bicol Express News

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Study more on cooperatives than waste time on trigonometry, calculus – says Chiz

Senatorial aspirant Chiz Escudero speaks before the local media. Bicol Express News photo

Sorsogon Gov. Chiz Escudero said the government should relax its requirements for small cooperatives to receive assistance and subsidies if the country wants to facilitate an inclusive post-pandemic recovery.

The senatorial aspirant said cooperatives, especially in the agricultural sector, need urgent help to survive and thrive as government data show that the poorest Filipinos are in agriculture.

About a third of the country’s population remains in the sector, too.

“Nagsimula ang kooperatiba sa sektor ng agrikultura pero naiwanan na ito ng mga kooperatiba sa iba’t ibang sektor kabilang na ang transport at credit. Ang agrikultura ay nananatiling kulang ang suporta mula sa pamahalaan ngayon,” Escudero said.

“Focus study on cooperatives rather than wasting time on calculus, trigonometry”

Escudero also said a revision of the country’s elementary and high school curricula could help FIlipinos understand and appreciate from a young age the value of cooperatives in development.

“Para sa akin panahon na para suriin ano ba talaga ang kailangan ng mga kabataan ngayon para mabuhay sa mundong ito. Ano ba ang pwede nating gawin para mabigyan ng kapasidad ang kabataan na harapin ang mga bagong hamon na kinakaharap ng henerasyon nila sa ngayon?” Escudero said.

“Kung maituturo lamang natin sa ating mga kabataan ang konsepto ng pagkakaisa at pagtutulungan imbes na Trigonometry—nag-abogado na ako, nag-congressman na ako, nag-senador ako, ngayon governor ako, hanggang ngayon awa ng Diyos hindi ko pa nagagamit ang Trigonometry o Calculus sa buhay ko,” he said.

“Government requirements on cooperatives too hard to comply”

“Marapat tingnan natin muli ang mga batas, mga polisiya na medyo strikto kaugnay sa pagbibigay ng tulong sa mga kooperatiba. Naranasan ko iyan bilang gobernador—na ang kwalipikado lamang para makatanggap ng pondo ay ‘yung may mga track record na, ‘yung may magandang performance. Sa ibang salita, ‘yung may dati nang puhunan at dati na ring matagumpay. Hindi nagka-qualify ang maliliit; yung malalaki pa rin ang nagku-qualify,” the veteran lawmaker said.

He said this defeats the purpose of Republic Act 9520 or the Philippine Cooperative Code of 2008, which declares it the “policy of the State to foster the creation and growth of cooperatives as a practical vehicle for promoting self-reliance and harnessing people power towards the attainment of economic development and social justice.”

He said the government is mandated by law to extend financial assistance and technical guidance to cooperatives but because of the stringent requirements for availing these, those who need government aid most do not qualify for it.

“Nahihirapan yung kooperatibang nagsisimula pa lamang dahil wala silang track record. Dahil wala silang maipakitang pruweba na kaya nilang gamitin ng tama yung pondong ibibigay sa kanila ng pamahalaan. Marapat tingnan ng masusi ang polisiyang iyan upang sa gayon maakay natin yung mga bago at maliliit pa lamang na kooperatiba na lumaki tulad ng maraming kooperatiba na naging matagumpay at napakarami ng pagmamay-ari at assets,” Escudero said.

“More funding to agriculture”

He also said the government should increase its investment in the agriculture sector, citing the low budget of the Department of Agriculture for 2022 (P103.5 billion), compared with the appropriations for the Department of National Defense (P222 billion) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (P686.1 billion).

“May kasabihan tayo sa Ingles, ‘Put your money where your mouth is’. Napakaliit ng perang nilalaan sa sektor ng agrikultura. Paano natin matutulungan? Maglaan ng malaking pondo para matulungan yung pinakamahihirap nating mga kababayan na umaasa sa sektor ng agrikultura, partikular na ang mga kooperatiba na nasa sektor na iyan,” he said.