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Apr 15th
Home Columns Ike Señeres Philippine Cooperatives and State Universities Are In Danger Because of Lack of Funding
Philippine Cooperatives and State Universities Are In Danger Because of Lack of Funding PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - Ike Señeres
Written by Ike Señeres   
Thursday, 27 January 2011 19:57



By Ike Señeres                                         


Saving the Cooperatives and the State Universities


We may not see the problem yet, but our cooperatives and state universities are in danger, and they need to be saved. The culprit in the case of the cooperatives is globalization, and in the case of the state universities, the culprit is rationalization, whatever that means. The cooperatives are losing business because of the entry of imported and smuggled goods, as the case may be. The state universities are losing steam because of mandatory budget cuts as decided by our Congress.


These two types of institutions are completely different from each other, but in the bottom line, their problem is money, and that is also the solution, meaning that they need money in order to survive. Given the fact that the government is not likely to give any more subsidies to either of them, there is a challenge now to build new revenue sources for both of them, sources that are not just good for now to solve the present problem, but for good, for their continuing sustainability.


Like two damsels in distress, there is now a way for the cooperatives and state universities to work together in such a way that both of them will make money and survive, with the added advantage of possibly helping the nation not only to survive, but also to grow and expand its economy. This solution is not exactly new, but for it to work, there is a need to modify and improve it to suit the present needs.


As it is now, there are corporate locators already in the University of the Philippines campus in Diliman, and perhaps in other state university campuses. The deal in Diliman is very simple. The corporate locators construct the buildings, and they turn it over to the university after 25 years. It is a win-win solution for both sides, because the locators get free real estate, plus access to the social capital inside the campuses. On the other hand, the universities get free buildings, and also some rent money in between.


There are about 30,000 cooperatives in the country, and about 30% of them have money to invest on their own, without tapping other sources. The other 70% have some money to invest, and could possibly pool their money with other coops or some other business partners. All told, acting alone or with others, the coops could do the same thing that the corporate locators are doing in the universities now, and that is to build offices or factories inside the campuses, as the case may be.


For all intents and purposes, the legal basis for cooperatives to invest in economic zones inside the state university campuses already exists, and there is hardly any need to pass more laws in support of this idea. As it is usually done in most economic zones, the locators would also build housing for their employees, thus putting in place a two in one strategy of providing employment and shelter at the same time, in a way that is doable and sustainable.


M any years ago, I predicted that programmable logic controllers (PLCs) will cause an industrial revolution that would equal if not surpass the impact of the steam engines. In a manner of speaking, PLCs could become the new “steam engines”, being the little machines that could control the manufacturing process in any factory, big or small. In effect, PLCs function as “industrial computers”, as opposed to the less powerful “personal computers” (PCs).


Since then, the price of PLCs have gone down to a point that these are now as affordable as PCs. The good news is, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) has already defined the certification standards for the manpower base that would support both PCs and PLCs, the latter now referred to as the science of “megatronics”. I am proud to have contributed to the definition of these two sets of standards, in cooperation with TESDA.


As it is now, the individual cooperatives are like tribes that exist on their own, hardly minding the business of other cooperatives. The time has come for them to come together and unite, just like the way that the tribes of early England joined together under Oliver Cromwell to form the Commonwealth of England. In my own small way, I am now laying the groundwork for them to unite under an advisory council composed of the eminent leaders of the cooperative movement.


By itself, “cooperative housing” is not a new concept either. The UP Employees Housing Cooperative (UPEHCO) in Diliman under the leadership of Dr. Virginia Teodosio has already built several housing projects by combining the financial capital and the social capital that is available to them. The livelihood component is always present in all the projects, putting in place the two in one solution. Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) leave the country to pursue the goal of having their own houses and their own businesses when they come back. Let us make that happen. # # #


Go for the good life! Tune in to Universal Access 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday to Sunday in DZRJ 810 KHZ and 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Thursdays in Global News Network (GNN), Channel 8 in Destiny Cable. E-mail or send text to +639997333011for local cable listings. Visit



Last Updated on Thursday, 27 January 2011 20:00

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