Manila Water Foundation Holds 1st Cooperative Summit

In its continuing effort to provide sustainable assistance to community-based cooperatives nationwide, Manila Water Foundation, through its Kabuhayan Para Sa Barangay (KPSB) program, recently held the 1st Manila Water Foundation Cooperative Summit at Luxent Hotel, Quezon City.

Some 130 cooperatives attended the 1st Manila Water Foundation Cooperative Summit. Said summit provided them new learnings and avenues for networking and marketing.

Said summit, which is a part of Manila Water Foundation’s 10-year scale up, gathered representatives from more than 100 KPSB partner cooperatives for a day of learning, networking, and marketing. It also reinforced the Foundation’s high regard for the role of community-based cooperatives in nation-building through access to sustainable livelihood opportunities to contribute to local and national economic growth, as resonated by the theme “Kabuhayan: Tulay sa Matatag na Bayan”.

The 1st Manila Water Foundation Cooperative Summit provided an opportunity for cooperatives to discuss, exchange ideas, and learn from each other.

KPSB, Manila Water Foundation’s flagship community and livelihood assistance program, provides aid to community-based cooperatives by offering financial support through a non-interest bearing loan of P100, 000 together with micro-enterprise training and other business management skills. Nearly 200 cooperatives, translating to over 55,000 families all over the country, are now part of the growing KPSB family. This number will just continue to increase as the Foundation is determined to reach out to more cooperatives in more areas in the country.

“More than the numbers, however, I am deeply moved by success stories and testimonies on how our simple assistance has greatly supported businesses, which in turn, resulted in a more stable financial position for several groups. It is also heartwarming to hear about how the KPSB has given a sustainable income for households, thereby allowing our partner cooperatives to provide for the needs of their families,” said Manila Water Foundation Executive Director Carla May Beriña-Kim.

Beriña-Kim’s statement was echoed by the KPSB partner cooperatives who shared their ‘Kabuhayan Para Sa Barangay’ stories that chronicled their respective cooperatives’ experiences before and after the assistance provided by the Foundation. Office of the Transport Cooperative Chairman Melchor V. Cayabyab thanked the Foundation for giving all KPSB partner cooperatives the financial leverage they need to expand their businesses. He then urged all attendees to prove that they deserve all the help given to them.

The summit also presented other possible business ventures to help the cooperatives boost their businesses.

“We have to show that the cooperative sector can be trusted to do our part in using the loans given to us by Manila Water Foundation. We have to prove that we are not only trustworthy, but we’re actually also competent in running and expanding our businesses,” stressed Caybayab.

Ateneo De Manila University Economics Professor and Manila Water Foundation Independent Trustee Cielito F. Habito served as the event’s keynote speaker. He inspired and motivated all the attendees with his words of wisdom that centered on the importance of collaboration among cooperatives to contribute to nation-building.

“Together, we can solve poverty. If the more fortunate families take time to help out those who have less, then we are all sure to achieve prosperity. As Pope John Paul II said, nobody is so poor that he has nothing to give, nobody is so rich that he has nothing to receive,” remarked Habito.

Ateneo De Manila University Economics Professor and Manila Water Foundation Independent Trustee Cielito F. Habito (center) served as the resource speaker for the 1st Manila Water Foundation Cooperative Summit. Photo shows Habito receiving his certificate and token of appreciation from Manila Water Foundation Trustees (from left) Manila Water Corporate Operations Group Director Geodino V. Carpio, Manila Water IT Group Director Rodell A. Garcia, Manila Water Corporate HR OIC Group Director Janine T. Carreon, Manila Water President and CEO and Manila Water Foundation President Gerardo C. Ablaza Jr., Manila Water Foundation Executive Director Carla May Beriña-Kim, Manila Water East Zone Business Operations OIC Group Director Esmeralda A. Quines, Manila Water Strategic Asset Management Group Director Ableardo P. Basilio, and Manila Water Corporate Project Management Group Director Thomas T. Mattison.

Cooperative Development Authority Deputy Director Giovanni T. Platero and Federation of Peoples’ Sustainable Development Cooperative CEO Christie Rowena C. Plantilla coached the attendees on cooperative management and governance while UP Institute of Small Scale Industries (UP-ISSI) Head of Business Enterprise Development Engr. Leoncio T. Cubillas, NutriWealth Founder Jay C. Galang, and Globe’s Abelyn F. Evangelista shared their knowledge on entrepreneurial and business management. Gawad Kalinga’s (GK) Ernie Maipid showed the importance of values formation and community relationship by having Mr. Bert Hangdaan, the Kalinga Leader of Silver Heights Village, narrate how GK has helped him and his community with the partnership and the assistance given to them.

Possible business ventures that the cooperatives can avail of were also presented through the booths set up by Healthy Family, National Confederation of Cooperatives (NATCO), Bagakeno Cashew Products, Amanda Marine Products, AHDS Food Products, Alion SEA-K Gracielo’s, Nutridense Food Manufacturing, Inc., Globe Telecom, Erase Cosmetics Development Corporation, Gawad Kalinga, and Philippine Institute of Traditional and Alternative Health Care.

Some lucky attendees won tokens and gift packs from, NATCO, Ayala Foundation, Erase Cosmetics Development Corporation, and Nestle Philippines in the event raffle while Lagro Transport Service Cooperative, Southern Rice Retailer Multi-Purpose Cooperative, and Basicano Transport Service and Multi-Purpose Cooperative went home with continuing business grants worth P20,000, P30,000, and P50,000 respectively.