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Kaunlaran sa Pagkakaisa Program
In 1986, the new OIC provincial government in Bulacan discovered that cooperatives had a negative reputation among the people. Only 52 existed in the entire province, many of them just on paper, with 24 million pesos in assets, while many others had failed over the years. The two agricultural extension services—one paid by the national government, the other by the provincial—seemed redundant. And both seemed to focus on technical training when what farmers told the new government they desperately needed were belier farmgate prices and easier access to credit at non-usurious terms.
After extensive consultations with farmers and leaders of successful cooperatives, the provincial government launched the Kaunlaran Sa Pagkakaisa Program (KPP) in 1986. The provincial agricultural service was converted into the Provincial Cooperative and Entrepreneurial Development Office, which started an intensive training program on cooperative formation and management with help from private sector volunteers. Over the next eight years, the provincial government provided 13.6 miIlion in loans to any credit-worthy cooperative willing to put up matching counterpart funds. KPP linked cooperatives with banks for further loans, helped with project appraisals, and aggressively promoted the value of savings mobilization and self-reliance.
Today, cooperative-ism is thriving in Bulacan. Seven hundred ninety-one coops in 568 barangays enjoy assets of P1.17 billion, with a membership of 200,000 people. Nearly P5 billion have been loaned to the cooperatives from all sources since 1988. A group of certified public accountants has formed a cooperative whose services are used by many of the other cooperatives. KPP's efforts to establish "people infrastructure" has had an unexpected physical result. Today, the tallest buildings in Bulacan are all owned by cooperatives!
This program is recognized as one of the Ten Outstanding Programs in the 1994 Galing Pook Awards.
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