Thursday, 14 November 2013


Mambulao Multi-Purpose Cooperative: Attention ... this is a hijack!

I HAVE likened the Mambulao Multi-Purpose Cooperative (MMPC) to a jetliner sailing on a pitch-black night and nearing its destination, when all of a sudden its captain, his co-pilot, their navigator and the flight crew announced a “hijack” to the stunned, half-awake passengers.

“Attention … this is a hijack …!

Casually, the captain gave them two options:

The first - they could bail out of the aircraft now and find another airliner – that is, if they are lucky to land in one piece --- to resume their journey.

Or, they could stay fastened on their seat belts and journey along with them.

Of course, the split-second hijacking was unplanned, a spur of the moment move over a flimsy reason: one of the passengers was snoring in unbelievable decibel!

With a few nitty-gritty left before it could finally register with the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA), the MMPC was about to become a bona fide cooperative to engage in trading consumer goods and other potential spin-offs that could bring income to the enterprise.

The money required of MMPC to qualify for an authorized capital of P5 million is in the bank.

Just a few major documentations and of course the required signatures of two-thirds of the members, the papers were ready for filing.

But a few days ago, clueless of what to take up next after discussing the agenda for that day’s meeting of the Board of Directors (BOD), the officers entertained an item, courtesy of co-op’s treasurer Elsie Dimaunahan, before they called it a day.

Elsie, the workhorse and co-op’s prime mover, unleashed a litany of frustrations that she said had made her day to day living quite a hell.

To sum it up, she was no longer willing to deal with Jessie Lumapag, the Riyadh-based chairman of the Mambulao’s On A Roll (MOAR), a group of overseas-working Mambulaoans, who earlier formed the MMPC, with about 18 of them helping to raise fund for the new co-op.

Elsie has accused Jessie of allegedly meddling in the affairs of the co-op officers, aside from asking for updates on what they have been doing to facilitate the eventual registration of the group with the CDA.

Couple this with the family pressure as she could no longer give 100% of her time to her children. Her husband Poloy works in the Middle East and a friend of Jessie.

And then Elsie dropped the bombshell: she was tendering her resignation from the co-op..

Instantly, the BOD had a solution: dissolve MMPC as a name of the co-op and rename it as “Jose Panganiban Multi-Purpose Cooperative”.

So, right there and then, the directors declared MMPC dead on-the-spot (DOS) and baptized the co-op “JPMPC”.

And presto! Jessie is cut off effectively because he no longer has the right to meddle with the affairs of a group he has nothing to do with.

And remove once and for all the mounting pressure that Elsie was getting from the overseas members.

Meanwhile, MMPC’s registration as a cooperative was aborted, as its documents have been taken over by the JPMPC.


But Elsie had assured Jessie that the funds of more than Php300,000 raised from about 90 incorporators were intact with the bank.

Jessie had advised Elsie against touching the funds (from the overseas workers) as he would take it up with them what to do next.

It’s quite clear now that MMPC has been rendered an empty, useless shell, stunning its members, especially the contract workers.

The obvious concern: “What will happen to our money?”

In a recent posting on the Facebook account of MMPC, which is accessed by its members worldwide, Elsie explained her resignation:

“Wala pong problema sa BOD … ang roots po nito ay ang pag-reresign ko dahil hindi ko na po kayang gampanan ang tungkulin ko bilang treasurer ng BOD … tapos mag-rereport pa sa mga OFW kung anong nangyayari dito sa local at pati ang mga minutes (of the BOD meeting) na gusto ninyong i-post.”

It was quite clear in this post that the name-change of the cooperative was triggered by her offer of resignation as the co-op treasurer, which was rejected outright by the board.

Wanting to keep her in the co-op, the BOD has engineered a solution: change the name of the co-op, from MMPC to JP-MPC, and instantly, Jessie is cut off once and for all.

This was further clarified by a subsequent posting, in reaction to Jessie’s “demand” to have the chairman of the board write to him and explain the minutes of a particular meeting held recently, if they can’t post them on the group’s Facebook site.

Elsie fired back: “Itong mga sinasabi mo ang isa sa mga grounds kaya binitiwan namin ang MMPC para magawa mo ang gusto mo dahil ikaw ang gumawa niyan (meaning the MMPC), sa’yung idea ‘yan. Kaya binago ang name para hindi mo na pwedeng idekta sa amin ang mga gusto mo.”

She had advised Jessie that he could proceed with MMPC’s registration with CDA. But as far as JP-MCP was concerned, it would pursue its listing with the CDA.

As expected, the tiny ripples created by the name-change developed into noisy, restless waves, with overseas members wondering if they should also quit the co-op under JP-MPC and take back their money.

Earlier, Jessie quit his membership from MMPC, effective next month, and demanded that his incorporator’s money, along with those of the three members of his family in Mambulao, be withdrawn.

This means that his wife and daughter and an in-law are withdrawing their memberships, too.

When Jessie was in the early stage of a plan to form a co-op for overseas Mambulaoans and their families, he asked me for a possible name to use.

I remember on June 23, 2013, I suggested “Mambulao’s On A Roll”, explaining to him that our town Mambulao is experiencing development that eventually would deliver progress to the people, something that has never been experienced or seen in about 50 years in the community.

After consulting with a team that became actively involved in planning the co-op, Jessie eventually got the endorsement for him to name the proposed cooperative “Mambulao’s On A Roll”.

A Facebook account was opened to carry the name.

And under MOAR, Jessie began inviting Mambulaons to join the group as a prelude to launching a co-op project.

But somehow, it could not be used as the official name for CDA registration, so the core group agreed to name the cooperative Mambulao Multi-Purpose Cooperative (MMPC), because it was also planning to venture into a number of income-generating activities that would also benefit the less-privileged people in Mambulao in terms of jobs.

The original name “Mambulao’s On A Roll” became the second name of the group.

When I was informed that the BOD dissolved MMPC while the co-op was on its way to getting registered officially, I was honestly shocked.

Immediately, I PM’d Jessie to fight for the retention of MMPC as the co-op’s name.

I told him this co-op was his “baby” and he has the right to keep its name as such.

I PM’d Elsie the same message.

And I stressed that the board could not just steamroll the name-changed without submitting it to the members for deliberation – through Facebook.

The simple reason is that the name was decided by the core members of MOAR before it was made the official co-operative name.

Which means the BOD has no right to dissolve it without consulting the core group.

But Elsie, in one of her recent postings, stressed: Kung ano ang napagkasunduan ng BOD, eh ‘yun na …lalo na’t ito ay approved na … (whatever the board has decided on, it becomes official).

And so the dropping of the co-op’s original name for a new one became BOD’s official act.

This sad episode in the short life of MMPC has once again brought to the surface the ugly head of a stigma that usually put a cooperative enterprise in bad light.

And even if the board reconsiders reverting to the original name – MMPC – to appease Jessie and his group, would our kababayan still trust it (the current board)? 

(As of this writing, the board was trying to calm down everyone by hinting that it would revert the co-op's original MMPC,)

As a parting shot, Jessie posted: “Ako’y nalulungkot sa kinahinatnan ng ating paghihirap, umaasa na makakatulong sa ating mga kababayan … kung sa umpisa ay ganito na ang nangyayari, how much more sa darating na araw.

“Maraming alibi kung bakit magku-quit, kung bakit binago ang pangalan ng co-op … sino na ang magtitiwala sa co-op dahil sa kagagawan ninyong dalawa? (referring to Elsie and the co-op chairman).

“Maramng salamat sa inyo sa mga kaibigan at narecruit ko, hangad ko na mapaganda ang ating co-op, ngunit kung ganito ang sistema na mga taong dapat pagkatiwalaan sa co-op, inyo na ang JP-MPC.”

The co-op per se has been proven to be a good vehicle to uplift its members, especially those who don’t have much for a source of income.

Many farmers who belonged to cooperatives succeeded in improving their lot because their groups took care of the marketing of their produce for better prices, resulting to better income for each of the member-farmers.

There was another bonus in terms of farm training to help them improve harvest and another on proper handling of their hard-earned cash.

The MOAR core group was also looking at this scenario when it launched the MMPC a few months ago.

However, while on flight to its first major destination – the Cooperative Development Authority – it was hijacked.

Suddenly, MMPC became a thing of the past, a sad chapter in an effort to start another cooperative enterprise in Mambulao.

Mambulaoans become another loser.

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