The Federation of Cooperatives of Workers’ Organizations (FEDCOWorkers), with the support of the Labor Education and Research Network and Akbayan Citizens’ Action Party, organized and hosted this years’ forum on Cooperative Taxation and Government Regulations yesterday, June 2, 2011 at the LEARN Workers’ House in Quezon City, Philippines.
The forum, which gathered more than thirty (30) individuals representing twenty-one (21) workers’ cooperatives, organizations, government agencies and a political party, was held as part of FEDCO’s awareness-raising campaigns and education forums. Some of the cooperatives that took part in the event include the Novaliches Development Cooperative (NOVADECI), BASIDECO, LEARN Coop and ABCEUMPC.
The forum also became a venue for these institutions to gain knowledge on laws and government policies that guide the conduct of cooperativism as a representative from the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) discussed the pertinent rules under the Amended Cooperative Code of the Philippines or Republic Act 9520 and CDA Memorandum Circulars concerning cooperatives. He highlighted the importance of maintaining strong and sustainable cooperatives that can withstand even the closure of companies wherein the members of the cooperatives are working.
A representative from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) also imparted her knowledge on government regulations and processes that guide and affect, respectively, the conduct of cooperatives as company- and community-based agents of people’s financial stability and socio-economic development. She put emphasis on the importance of applying for and securing a Certificate of Tax Exemption under the amended Cooperative Code. She also stated that even though the laws’ stringent measures concerning the application for BIR certificates seem to hinder the operation and expansion of cooperatives, these guidelines nevertheless allow the proliferation of legitimate and legal cooperative entities and prevent others from deviating from government standards.
Kit Melgar, Akbayan Representative Walden Bello’s Chief of Staff, also showed her support for the forum and the cooperatives that were present, saying that they serve as instruments of change by uplifting not only their members’ lives but also the society’s economic condition. She also said that Akbayan is willing to espouse any policy changes such as amendatory bills on the Cooperative Code of the Philippines in the areas of small-scale in house insurance provision by cooperatives, requirements that need to be accomplished in applying for certificates of registration and tax exemption, maximizing the benefits that cooperatives get from the new code and strengthening the CDA’s role in order for it to perform properly side by side with workers’ cooperatives.