Community Enterprise Development Program through Pangkabuhayan Centers (CEDP-Pcenter): A Way Out of Poverty
In 2003, the Municipality of Siayan in Zamboanga del Norte was ranked as the top impoverished municipality. That is no longer the case.
In July 2011, the Municipal LGU launched its Community Enterprise Development Program through Pangkabuhayan Centers (CEDP-PCenter). This program provided sustainable livelihood opportunities that led to substantial increases in the incomes of its poor constituents.
The CEDP-PCenter program involves the establishment of small community- owned and community-managed merchandise stores in the 22 barangays of the municipality. The program calls on the poorest residents to pool their resources together with the capitalization provided by the LGU in setting up and managing the merchandise stores or Pangkabuhayan Centers (PCenters). These stores would sell commodities at a much cheaper price and buy agricultural produce at a higher price than private business owners. The store’s profits are reinvested and part are plowed back as dividends to the individual members. The program is designed so that these PCenters would eventually be registered as cooperatives.
Re-greening of the hilly and mountainous areas of the municipality to generate income for the landless was part of the program. The LGU also paved farm-to-market roads to reduce transportation cost and hasten the mobility of agricultural products. It also provided training and orientation on enterprise management, accountability and transparency to empower the people and transform their beliefs and sense of self-worth.
Today, PCenters are well established in 21 of the 22 barangays; 16 of these have now been registered as cooperatives with a total membership of 1,591 or over 75% of the target of 2,000 members. They are now federated as the Siayan Pangkabuhayan Federation of Cooperatives, which is already venturing into bulk handling of consumer goods and agribusiness trading. Externally audited financial reports show that the PCenters have generated a combined gross sales as high as PhP12 million in 2014 with a net surplus averaging half million pesos annually. The members have already received annual refunds averaging PhP85.00 for every PhP100 invested. The members also enjoy a 20 to 30% discount from the goods they buy from the PCenters, which is only charging a 10% profit margin. Before the program was implemented, the villagers had to pay between PhP300 to PhP500 for their fare or spend five to eight hours walking to buy consumer goods at the Poblacion or Town Center.
Part of the annual surplus generated by the PCenters are contributed to community activities such as child feeding programs and provision of grooming kits. Four of the PCenters are now also engaged in vegetable production with a twin objective of disseminating farming technology to increase farm productivity in the community and as an added investment to their existing enterprise.
By empowering its people and providing the support they needed, the Siayan LGU has successfully implemented its social entrepreneurship program and is now well on its way to eradicating poverty.