The Micro Small Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are the backbone of the Philippine economy contributing employment and enabling the economy to be bullish with cooperatives acceptably regarded as MSMEs. The MSMEs represent 99.6 percent of all businesses registered in the country and employ 61.2 percent of the total labor force. The roles of MSMEs are important in dispensing new industries to the countryside and providing gainful employment. In fact to encourage sustainable growth and development of MSMEs in the country, the government has launched the SME Star Program. The program also aims to support outstanding enterprises that have shown the most remarkable achievements in growing their business into becoming globally competitive.
In the province of Bataan, one cooperative is an example of a MSME that positively help local economy. The Iwahori Multi-Purpose Cooperative was recently awarded the SME Star Award in the Elite Medium Category in the provincial level, of which having not less than P15 million assets but not more than P100 million. The award highlighted the role of the cooperative in providing livelihood and igniting economy in the province. In the same awarding ceremony, other enterprises awarded in the provincial level were: in the Rising Micro Category, Five Brothers Category; Rising Small Category, Alion Kapit Bisig Sea K Association; in the Elite Micro Category, Beakris House of Goodies; and Elite Small Category, Amanda’s Marine Products.
The Iwahori MPC competed in the regional level and was adjudged winning the SME Star Award in Central Luzon. The awarding ceremony was scheduled at Stostenberg Hotel, Clark Pampanga on June 7.
But Iwahori MPC is not new to receiving plaudits. Among others, Iwahori MPC’s awards and citations were: one of the 8 millionaire cooperatives in the province in 2003; recipient of Excellent Rating (LBP Operation Review 2009 -2010); and best in community linkages and services (2009 Coop Month Celebration-Bataan). Its accreditations include coming from: Sangguniang Bayan Mariveles, Bataan Land Bank of the Phils.( LBP ), AGFP/PMO –(Special program for Farmers), and Phil-Health/SSS/DOLE/Pag-ibig Fund/BIR.
Looking back, 8 years had passed since rank and file employees of Iwahori Phils. Inc. organized a cooperative among themselves. The Iwahori Employees Credit Cooperative (IECC) was born as it was officially registered with Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) under Reg. No. MLA - 2291. From the initial capital of P160,000.00, it had grown to P5.4M in assets with 223 regular members in 1999. Unfortunately, due to the unexpected closure of the Iwahori Philippines Inc in January 2000, employees were not paid of separation pay, hence their loan receivables amounting to P4.5M were not collected.
“Back to Zero” in 2001, they withdrew their savings/capital amounting to P212,0000.00 from their Apex cooperative - the Phil Federation of Credit Cooperative and started the cooperative operation anew amending their bylaws from IECC to Iwahori MPC, from credit to multi-purpose cooperative, and from institutional to residential or community-based since the institution is no longer existing. And with the amendment of RA6938 to RA 9520 – the Philippine Cooperative Code of 2008, the cooperative was reregistered with CDA in Oct 6, 2009 under Reg No. 03000277.
Not to mention, Iwahori MPC has likewise benefited from the support of Governor Enrique Garcia, Sangguniang Panlalawigan and Municipal Government of Mariveles, Bataan under the leadership of Mayor Jessie Concepcion. Cooperative development in the province has been vigorously been pushed to strengthen local economy. The provincial government of Bataan has been pouring massive support to cooperatives here to speed up local economy.
And for the past years, cooperative development in Bataan has reached greater new heights. Provincial Cooperative Development Office (PCDO) is everyday doing its mandated tasks of empowering cooperatives in the province. Programs like building the capability through education, assisting on technical needs, loan assistance, and monitoring operations have been implemented in the province that resulted to the success of many cooperatives in the province including Iwahori MPC.
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