October 12, 2021

During a pandemic, co-ops serve as “financial front-liners,” according to the DTI

Ramon Lopez, Secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), has praised cooperatives’ role as “financial front-liners” during the epidemic, praising their ability to contact and help small companies with limited access to financial institutions and government agencies.

“You are our important partners in strengthening MSMEs (micro, small, and medium businesses) and providing government services to our MSMEs at the grassroots level who are located in far-flung regions of the country,” Lopez said during the start of Cooperative Month celebrations on Friday, October 1, 2021.

He highlighted the need of assisting MSMEs in thriving in the face of global health and economic crises.

“These businesses are critical contributors to our country’s inclusive and sustainable economic development plan,” Lopez said, noting that the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) has partnered with the DTI to offer financial services and support to MSMEs.

He also praised the CDA for extending its services to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), particularly during the epidemic.

The CDA has a total asset base of PHP573 billion and a net surplus of PHP23.5 billion, with 12 million members.

“You will always be an important partner of DTI in nation-building and enabling our people to attain a higher standard of living,” Lopez added.

Apart from microfinance programs like Pondo sa Pag-Asenso at Pagbabago (P3) and Covid-19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises (CARES), he said DTI regional offices are continuing to roll out Shared Service Facility (SSF) projects across the country, as well as knowledge development programs to encourage Filipinos to become entrepreneurs.

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