The BECs and the Multipurpose Cooperatives of Parish of Our Lady of Abandoned (POLA), Mandaluyong City

POLA is a parish of the Archdiocese of Manila with 90,000 population: 5 %-rich, 20 %-middle class and 75 %-poor. The territorial boundaries comprises of four (4) barangays in Mandaluyong: Hulo, Barangka Drive, San Jose, and Plainview.

BECs were first started in 1970, spearheaded by Fr. Emmanuel Sunga through Block Rosary. At that time, POLA was only a sub-parish of San Roque Parish. The BECs expanded in POLA after the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines (PCP II in January-February 1991). By then, POLA was already an established parish, during the term of Fr. Edward Edpalina (4th Parish Priest). From the 1994 consultation, several resolutions were made; one of which was the change of the name “Bukluran” to “Munting Pamayanang Simbahan (MPS)”. This name is an official name of BEC in POLA since then.

Nowadays, under a hands-on stewardship of Fr. Lads, the MPS have become more active and visible by requesting MPS leaders to deliver their respective ‘State of the MPS Address’ (where they report their BEC status during the MPS Mass).

The present Parish BEC Lay Coordinator is Sis. Elvie Garcia-Cagnan. Also, there is BEC Desk Team: Sis. Elvie Garcia-Cagnan, Ma. Librada “Mylene” Enriquez, Cynthia Esquilona and Rev. Popoy Aporillo. They are working together with an equal responsibility in organizing and promoting BECs/MPS.

It has eight (8) sub-parishes with respective officers integrated to form one big parish.

It has a total of one hundred eight (108) MPS. Some BEC activities are best practices in POLA such as:

1. Batayan Antas Pamayanan Simbahan (BAPS)

2. Sambahaginan (bible sharing w/ module) in SPC

3. POLA Cooperative to alleviate the standard of living of BEC members

4. MPS Mass (street masses) with State of the MPS Address after mass

4. Catechesis before MPS Mass and,

6. LANDAS (Laykong Naglilingkod sa Dukha at Simbahan-Triple Communication ng Pamayanan)

 

POLA COOP

POLA has had launched an effective and BEC friendly financial assistance program in 1992; i.e. “Our Lady of the Abandoned-Main Multi-Purpose Cooperative”, formerly headed by Rev. Fr. Socrates C. Mesiona, MSP, and presently headed by Fr. Eladio Oliver, together with the Parish Pastoral Council. They decided to put up this Cooperative to attend the financial needs of the parishioners. It is under the livelihood Program of the Parish Service Ministry. Mac Orendain has initiated the first Pre-Membership Seminar on December 27, 1992.

There were twenty one members who first joined the COOP composed of priests, lay leaders who worked together. They put all their time, knowledge and money amounting to nine thousand four hundred pesos (Php9,400.00), so they can establish and register the cooperative. And so, it was registered in Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) No. MLA 2675-3008 on February 27, 1992. It expanded gradually in the entire parish and in 2005, the name of the cooperative was changed into “Parish of Our Lady of the Abandoned Multi-Purpose Cooperative (POLA COOP).

It was reported in their audited financial statements on December 31, 2012 the followings:

Total Assets - Php17,061,277.58

Paid-Up Share Capital - - 9,144,320.59

Statutory Funds - 1,254,044.63

Net Surplus - 1,077,017.73

There were 789 registered members as of December 31, 2012. The Total amount lent to the Cooperative members in 2012 was Php16,229,912.46, have had increased 31% compared in year 2011.

December 8, 2011, the POLA COOP building (67 sq.m.) was built in 795 M Coronado St., Hulo, Mandaluyong City. It was built through POLA Coop profit and so owned by the POLA Coop members.

They decided to put up the POLA Cooperative Multi-Purpose Program to attend the financial needs of the parishioners, wherein they can go to POLA COOP and they could easily avail a financial assistance, earn as well and eventually alleviate their standard of living.

POLA COOP got the idea from the “Bumbay” who could lend money and get back the money, but with a minimal interest of 2% only (compared to 20% interest-Bumbay lending). This inspiration is so strong because many of the parishioners are depending to “Bumbay” and trying to survive a living through credit.

POLA COOP led their parishioners to uphold different perspective, care to mind the Cooperative Values and Principles:

· Cooperative Values: Self-Help, Self-responsibility, Equity, Democracy, Equality, Honesty, Openness, Caring for others, Social responsibility and Solidarity

Cooperative Principles: Open and voluntary membership, Democratic member control, Member economic participation, Autonomy & independence; Education training & information, Cooperation among cooperatives and Concern for communities

The parishioners responded positively. They uphold the values and principles of cooperatives and joined POLA COOP.

POLA COOP Services offer the followings:

1. Cash Loan Account

2. Savings Account

3. Kids Savings Account

4. Damayan Life Insurance

5. Damayan Fund

According to Chairperson’s Report, many POLA COOP members have changed their lives. They acquired tricycle, store, computer shop, water station and canteen or carenderia, etc. They have learned to save money. At present, they have P4,967,616.24 savings accounts of members and P853,706.95 Kids’ Savers (children of POLA COOP members). It has 899 loans amounting to P16,229,912.46. Also, they have joined in health care networking (QLife); POLA COOP building become a good venue for different activities and earned income from rental.

Membership comprises 220 male and 569 female, a total of 789 as of 2012. To date, 800 registered members in good standing are already enjoying their rights and privileges:

- The right to loan and avail other services in accordance to the rules and regulations

- The right to attend the General Assembly yearly

- The right to vote

- Members are entitled for a profit sharing such as capital share earnings based on personal average monthly balance, and other privileges.

Approximately, it has 700 BEC members who are members of POLA Cooperative. The 100 non-members of BEC out of 800 POLA Coop members are the non-parishioners of POLA, but working within the perimeters of POLA and connected to any POLA COOP members.

 

POLA COOP helped their members fulfill their dreams!

1. Dancel Tablizo- Mormon, 37 years old, tricycle driver, married with 3 children  and joined POLA Coop in 1991. He owned 3 tricycles. Those tricycles have been acquired through cash loan from POLA Coop. He personally used 1 tricyle to earn a living and the other 2 tricycles are being used by his fellow tricycle drivers. They will just give him P150.00/day (P120 for boundary and P30 for tricycle installment payment). Within two years the ownership of the tricycles will be transferred to them. Dancel is doing this to help his fellow tricycle drivers to own tricycle and to earn more for their families. Dancel is living a healthy lifestyle, no alcohol and no cigarette, just save his extra money to POLA Coop.

 

2. Rogelio Decano- Catholic, 49 years old, tricycle driver/Bacepttoda secretary, widow with 1 daughter and joined POLA Coop in 2012. He is thankful to God for the many benefits that POLA Coop is giving to him as member of the cooperative. He could easily borrowed money and there is insurance (sort of financial assistance/security for his beneficiary-his daughter).

 

 

3. Ferdie Sabado- Catholic, 36 years old, tricycle driver & sari-sari store owner, married with 1 daughter and joined POLA Coop in 2002. His wife is also POLA Coop member. He owned 2 tricycles. Those tricycles are also acquired from POLA Coop cash loan. He lend his 1 tricycle to fellow tricycle driver to earn boundary daily but unfortunately it didn’t turn out well, so he decided to sell it. The other 1 tricycle is currently active in purchasing products for his home-based sari-sari store. The capital of his sari-sari store is also comes from POLA Coop cash loan. His sari-sari store is doing well, earning well. Also, POLA Coop helps his house renovated. He said, POLA Coop really make their dreams come true!

 

LEARNINGS AND INSIGHTS FROM BEC EXPERIENCE:

1. Before 2012 year end, there were 789 members (20.45% increased from 2011). As of 2013, there are 800 members. The growth in membership is based on the frequency of Pre-Membership Seminar (PMES) and the number of participants in every PMES. So therefore, the success of PMES is the success of membership.

- PMES is being held every last Sunday of the month at 2:00 p.m., hopefully, it will level up weekly to increase number of membership and eventually to help more parishioners.

- There is need for promotional materials such as flyers and website, etc. It will help in information dissemination on POLA COOP and a chance to inspire more and expand the scope of financial assistance to mostly in need.

2. POLA COOP have dedicated and efficient Board of Directors and Management Staff. Its success if reflected in: the financial assistance given to many, access to developmental communities. Its assets have grown from P9,400.00 shared capital in 1992 to P17,061,277.58 as of December 31, 2012. The establishment of POLA Coop building is a return investment/a bonus blessing to all members and supporters.

3. POLA COOP tried various ways to empower the parishioners/Munting Pamayanang Simbahan (MPS) by giving them opportunity to look at credit in the context of dividends and other benefits while upholding the values and principles of cooperative.

4. POLA’s BECs are active for the following reasons:

- They have regular activities all year round with an active participation of MPS.

- They have open communication from parish priest-PPC-SPPC-MPS leaders-MPS members, working together as Munting Pamayanang Simbahan.

- The priests are immersing themselves in BEC activities as much as they can and in general, POLA has active BEC leaders.

5. The Sambahaginan sessions (bible sharing) are held in sub-parishes and attended by the SPPC, SPPC EXECOM & MPS leaders (area leaders). They are guided by a “SAMBAHAGINAN MODULE” and commonly facilitated by Sub-parish Education Ministry/SPPC head. They follow 7 steps: opening song/opening prayer, preparation (personal and group readiness), Gospel reading (verses from sambahaginan module), Gospel reflection, Gospel sharing, Community plan of action and shared prayers. The sambahaginan in sub-parishes is training ground particularly for the MPS leaders who will lead Munting Pamayanang Simbahan the same way in the grassroots level.

6. To make sure that the BECs are active in the parish and in the communities, they have to imbibe the spirit of the early Christian community as recorded in the Act of the Apostles (Acts 2:42-47 / 4:32-35). /JFV8.31.13


References:

1. POLA Coop 21st General Assembly Report, April 7, 2013

2. POLA History, April 2, 2013

3. BEC-NCR Gen. Assembly: BEC Report of Archdiocese of Manila, Sept. 29, 2012, Immaculate Conception Parish, Pasig City

4. Interviews: Tatang Mendoza, Elvie Garcia-Cagnan, Tetchie de Leon, etal.