Avoiding Mission Drift
Our very own BBCCC has withstood the test of time since its inception 55 years ago today. BBCCC faced many challenges and trials before it reached its present status as a billionaire cooperative. Its strength and stability can be attributed to the foresight of our founding cooperators as well as the dedication and hard work of past and present core of officers and staff. Lest we forget, the growth of our cooperative is also attributed to the all-important support, trust and loyalty extended by the general membership. These contributing factors allowed BBCCC to grow its membership base from a mere 15 member-cooperators back in 1958 to reach 19,592 strong members as of February 2013 and increase its total asset to reach Php1.2 billion as of December 2012. And we know that this growth trend does not stop there. Everyday, more people visit our office inquiring how to become a member and every month our cooperative accepts hundreds of these applications. Because more members patronize our services as well as the excellent placements of our investments, we can expect that our net surplus will likewise increase year-on-year. As they say, so far so good. Despite these good news not a few concerned members still observed the obvious. Our cooperative seems to be deviating from its original mandate. Tracing back its original goals and objectives, BBCCC committed itself to the three pillars which comprises its vision namely: 1) Lasting improvements in the quality of life of its members; 2) A membership enlightened about cooperative values and their social responsibilities; and an 3) Active involvement in community development. It is a known fact that BBCCC complied with vision number one but with vision numbers two and three, it still left a lot to be desired. With the recent launch of the BBCCC CARES program, such shortcomings are targeted to be addressed. The current BOD leadership under our Chairman and President, Atty. Nelson V. Gayo initiated this program urging us to revisit our foundations otherwise we commit the sin of “mission drift”. By going back to the basics, we remind ourselves that BBCCC does not only exist to provide economic benefits to the members but more importantly BBCCC is here to make sure that each member fully understands what cooperative values, social responsibility and active community development truly means. That is what caring also means inside and outside of BBCCC. Nothing more, nothing less. (April – June 2013)
Member Satisfaction and Net Surplus: It Takes Two to Tango
Ray Kroc, the man who transformed McDonald’s into a billion dollar fast-food chain once said, “For us, our most important stakeholder is not our stockholders, it is our customers. We’re in business to serve the needs and desires of our core customer base.” This can be the main reason among the many why even up to this day, McDonald’s remains profitable and one of the most recognizable brand in the world today. Our very own BBCCC is unlike McDonald’s not only because we do not serve burgers or fries but because our organization does not exist solely for profit. But one aspect that can be considered common between McDonald’s and BBCCC is the belief in the need to be customer or member-focused. Mr. Kroc is right, if they did not take care of their customers by providing what they wanted, his famed fast-food chain might be gone by now. In the same way, BBCCC in its 55 years of existence, if it did not take care of its members, our cooperative might also be gone by now. But despite the many challenges we faced and continue to face, we still remain strong and financially liquid. And this can be attributed to the continued support and trust extended by the general membership. And we thank all the members for that and rest assured that we will continue to provide excellent service to you. But prudence also dictates that in reality we cannot satisfy all members to the point of providing them their exact needs and wants. They may have complained to the manager, raised their voices at the staff or worst withdrew their membership over matters that did not sit well with what they have expected to receive and the actual service that was provided. We take these unfortunate events very seriously and attempt to find solutions so that these may not happen again. The most recent program that was launched called, “BBCCC Cares” was exactly the solution we have in mind. The program was the result of constant dialogue between the members, management and officers in finding ways on how to further improve the services of our cooperative. But this program cannot be sustained unless the full support of the three stakeholders of BBCCC are working together and providing inputs for its improvement. It is also in this aspect that we continue to train our staff and officers on proper customer service as well as constantly checking if we are still aligned to the original BBCCC vision and mission statements. The worst thing that could happen to us now is the loss of faith in the system being implemented earnestly at BBCCC. We know it is not perfect and we need your help and inputs in making it so. We all believe in constant improvement and constant learning. And again, our cooperative will not have survived for 55 years without the synergy displayed between the three stakeholders. Let us all work together to bring this synergy to work for us once again. If we fail, we have nothing to blame but ourselves but if we succeed, we have every reason to praise ourselves for a job well done for its continued relevant existence. After all, a satisfied membership base is directly related to a positive net surplus. (July – Sept. 2013)
Charting a Course to a Brighter and Prosperous Future
Among the four functions of management, planning is considered as the primus inter pares or the first among equals. This is not only because management experts say so but because any human activity will not come to its full fruition without any semblance of an organized thought or deliberate attempt to pool together ideas, resources or any other materials at ready disposable to come up with a focused course of action. Planning as a management function provides us with varied and rich tools to come up with a single direction and parameters to guide us in reaching our goals and objectives. Our very own BBCCC undertook several bold steps in order for us to reach our collective dreams and aspirations as embodied in our Vision and Mission statements. While it is true that such dreams of the future is a dream that must still be fulfilled at a given period of time it nonetheless allows us to act in unison and with a clear plan of action in mind. As people say, it will just remain a dream until we act on our dreams and take concrete steps to realize it. However, it is not enough to just instantly act on our dreams or pounce on every opportunity that comes our way. This is tantamount to cooperative suicide. What we need at this point in time is a specific course of action meant to lay down the parameters of what we need to do as against what we need to accomplish given our limited resources. With the guidance of our Chairman/President, Atty. Nelson V. Gayo and the rest of the BBCCC Board of Directors they were able to marshal existing BBCCC resources to come up with specific courses of action in order for us to realize what is embodied in our Vision and Mission statements. And included in these courses of action is the full and continuous implementation of the BBCCC Cares program launched this year. This coming 2014 Annual General Assembly we will all have the chance to see for ourselves the refined and detailed Medium Term Development Plan (2014-2020). The overall concept of this plan is to give the cooperative back to us as members. This plan will be implemented so that we may be provided with relevant, efficient and effective services without necessarily forgetting our role to society as a catalyst of change and development (corporate social responsibility). This seems to be a tall order but with God’s blessings and your constant and ever reliable support, this strategy will be accomplished and fully realized. We are all in this journey together and together we are positive that we will face a brighter and prosperous future for each and everyone of us here at BBCCC. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all! (Oct. – Dec. 2013)
The Need for Action and Accountability
Our Co-op is in a transition. We are preparing ourselves to take greater responsibilities and attain greater heights in light of our recent re-direction and re-strategizing. Last year we revisited our Vision and Mission statements and made commitments to uphold and follow these foundations and advocacies. This year, during our annual general assembly, we will be approving the proposed BBCCC Medium Term Development Plan 2014-2020 (MTDP) in the hope that this will bring us ever closer to the attainment of our Vision and Mission statements. To some members, this MTDP is unattainable and pretentious. But for the many who believe in the spirit of cooperativism, action, accountability and the value of working together in order to achieve our goals and objectives nothing is impossible. We will only be limited by our incapacity to imagine the future and in our inability to launch into real action. This coming 55th Annual General Assembly and Election of Officers scheduled on March 16, 2014 to be held at the BCNHS grounds we will once again be given the chance to participate in determining the direction of our co-op. Our voice as members will once again be heard as we select our representatives in the Board of Directors as well as in the Audit Committee and the Election Committee. Not only that, our inputs, suggestions and recommendations will also be important in the proceedings as we tackle issues related to the operations of our co-op and with the future directions we must take. All these are part of our responsibility as active members of BBCCC in particular and as members of the cooperative movement in general. During the assembly we may discuss problems and concerns because after all we will not know where we are going unless we know where we are. Reality dictates that we should first be aware of our strengths and weaknesses as an organization. However, this should not end there. What is most important in the assembly is to provide recommendations and solutions and not just complain about the problems. More than the talk, we will need more of your active participation in determining opportunities and threats for our organization. Your commitment to the cause of our co-op is needed more than ever as we march to the future with a clear vision of where we want to go and a reliable plan in hand. We may not always agree to certain issues and argue about it. This is just fine because our co-op supports this kind of dynamic and evolving environment but what is most essential in our democratic set-up lies not on our many freedoms protected by law but rather our democracy leans more toward accountability and really committing to the ideals of the cooperative movement. In our forthcoming annual general assembly we are once again called by our obligation to partic-ipate and exercise our right to be actively involved in the affairs of our beloved BBCCC. Let us use this power responsibly. (Jan. – March 2014)
The Cooperative Spirit is Alive at BBCCC
Corporate social responsibility or CSR for short has been a buzzword for the past couple of decades. In fact, it has become so popular that in branding a product or a company for example, CSR is considered as a unique selling proposition. Marketing savvy people often use CSR to build a strong customer loyalty and thus differentiate the product or the company from the other competitors in the market. CSR is also used by companies or organizations to attract similar-minded and very qualified employees or staff. This in turn converts such employees into strong advocates of the organization and what it stands for. At BBCCC, more than the “window dressing” where CSR nowadays is usually equated with, our Co-op engages in CSR because it is part of our Vision and Mission. We can call this as the cooperative spirit. Cooperative spirit or doing outreach to our members and the community and placing members’ welfare at the forefront of everything that we do, is at the core of our very existence. Remove this from the equation, our Co-op flounders in limbo, unsure of where we want to go and what to achieve. It is as if the soul is removed from the temporal body. Revisiting our own Vision and Mission, as what we did with our 2014-2020 Medium Term Development Plan (MTDP) forced us again to look at the cooperative spirit as a way of life at BBCCC. Not only it helps sustain our financial progress in the long run but it is also part of our strategy to better reach our goals and objectives which is really to serve our members and the community where we operate. Our Co-op is still in the process of achieving the objectives of the MTDP. But by being aware of our social responsibilities to both our members and the community, the journey towards our destination may just be worthwhile and satisfying knowing that we have made a positive impact in some of the lives we touched along the way. The BBCCC Foundation Inc. (BFI) is the social arm of the BBCCC. Let us all support the activities and advocacies of BFI as we attempt to reach and serve more people and communities. Serving others is indeed fulfilling when we all do it wholeheartedly, sincerely and in the cooperative way. (April – June 2014)
Gender Equality at BBCCC
Last September 2 to 5, I and some other BBCCC members were privileged to have attended the “Training of Trainers on Gender for Cooperatives” organized by the Asian Women in Cooperative Development Forum. Part of the objective of the training was meant to allow us to recognize that there are gender issues and gender concerns that need to be addressed in our community and in our co-ops. The training likewise reiterated that unequal power relations between women and men can prevent productive and equitable relationship to prosper and in some cases prevent the full participation of women and men in social development. Let it be clear that the topic of gender equality goes way beyond women empowerment. Thus, it is wrong to assume that when we espouse gender equality it does not necessarily mean favoring women over the men. Gender equality can also pertain to empowering men to have a greater or more active participation in specific community functions. And one of these community roles is participating in the co-op movement. Here at our very own BBCCC and using the latest data (c/o MIS and RDPC), it revealed that from the total active and regular membership base, there are only 28% male members as compared to 72% female members. We can safely assume, at least for our own Co-op, many people still believe that joining co-ops is solely the domain of women. Unfortunately, we have no other data as regards the other co-ops operating here in Baguio City and Benguet in terms of their membership base breakdown to verify our claim. On the other hand, this situation at BBCCC where women outnumber the men can also be an indication that we have achieved what the United Nations (UN) declared during the International Year of Cooperatives last 2012 that, “Cooperatives, and other collective forms of economic and social enterprise, have shown themselves as distinctly beneficial to improving women’s social and economic capacities.” However, gender equality cannot be achieved if there is unequal representation from both sexes. We now urge the males to actively join the co-op movement here in Baguio City and Benguet. If you know somebody who is not yet a member of any cooperative urge them to join us in this global co-op movement or better yet encourage them to join our very own Co-op. BBCCC fully supports gender equality in the co-ops. Gender integration is a necessary ingredient for sustainable cooperative development. If approved, gender equality programs will be included in next year’s tactical plans. (July – Sept. 2014)
Leaving a Legacy
It is worth repeating for the sake of clarity and common understanding BBCCC’s Medium Term Development Plan (MTDP 2014-2020) as our roadmap in achieving our Co-op’s goals and objectives. These goals and objectives are enshrined in our Co-op’s Vision and Mission.
Year 2015 in our MTDP has the theme, “Members as Partners in Continuing Co-op Education and Lifelong Learning.” and this is derived from our Mission number two which is, “A membership enlightened about cooperative values and their social responsibilities.”
In this issue of the CoopServer, we try to articulate a bit on this year’s MTDP theme. Dr. Dexie Alterado in his article appearing on page four, dwelt on character building in the workplace. This is very much related in our objective of enlightening our members about cooperative values as it applies in our personal and professional lives. By instilling in our consciousness what these values are (caring, solidarity, etc.), it is hoped that these can be transformed into actual practice by each and every member of this Cooperative.
On the other hand, our Pre-school Principal, Dr. Rose Segundo happily reports the accomplishments of the BBCCC Foundation Pre-school (story appearing on page 5 and pictures on pages 6-7). Again, relating this to our MTDP, this is an avenue for continuing co-op education and lifelong learning albeit touching on the lives of the young ones. As our current cover depicts, our children are our future. Instilling in them the cooperative values that they can understand and we as adults whom they look up to, showing good examples that they can emulate is already ensuring the survival of BBCCC in the next 50 to 100 years from now. On page eight, our Loans Processor, Ms. Shane Tadeo shares her personal experience as she was invited to talk on her son’s Career Day. By exposing the young on what BBCCC as an organization is doing, she hopes to enlighten the children on the value of saving and spending their money wisely.
The Annual General Assembly (GA) and Election of Officers is upon us once again. We urge our fellow members to always be reminded of our MTDP as we again elect our leaders. Choosing our leaders is no easy task. Let our GA be a reminder to all of us that a professionally managed cooperative which is grounded on the right values is the only legacy we can leave to the future members of BBCCC—our children. (January – March 2015)
A Clear Path to the Future
The recent activities of our Co-op have again placed a significant focus on the revival of going back to the basics. This means that aside from embracing the best practices of the corporate world, we as an organization must really be aware and putting into practice our Cooperative roots. Past efforts and interventions were implemented to bring us back to the reality that we belong in the Cooperative movement. And far from monitoring net surpluses we should be more focused on community development and uplifting members’ social and economic status. This is not to say that what we did in the past is off on a tangent. In fact, those practices are what made us who we are today—a billionaire Cooperative in North Luzon. However, as with any organization, processes or systems there is no fool-proof guarantee that what we did in the past may also be effective in the present or in the future.
In this issue of the CoopServer, we try to explain the steps needed to adjust in a swiftly changing environment and at the same time touch base with our true identity as a Cooperative. First, among the many projects initiated by the BOD is the “AIMing for More” program. Our Chairman, Atty. Nelson Gayo expounded on this in his column on page two. Second, a policy review is currently being undertaken by the several stakeholders of our Co-op meant to align our existing policies to what we as a Co-op should really be doing i.e. improved and better services to the members, efficient management and monitoring system as well as enhanced and more pro-active role in community development. Lastly, the re-assignment of several staff will also hopefully address the provision of better services extended to the members (the article appears on page eight). Our Co-op management as represented by our Manager, Mabel Pasngadan likewise shares insights on teamwork. According to her, failure to work as a team will also mean failure for the whole Co-op (Manager’s Message on page two).
Also, in this issue we honor long time officers and members of the Board of Directors, Atty. Renato Fernandez and Isabelina Ronquillo as well as committee officer, Judge Emeterio Manantan. Although they are now retired from active service to the Co-op but their presence will still be felt as consultants and advisers. The three of them were given their due recognition during the launching of the “AIMing for More” program and induction of officers last June 4. On page four, we have re-printed the retirement speech of Dir. Ronquillo.
As members of BBCCC, we can safely say that our Co-op is in good hands knowing fully well that the direction and the path we are going to take for the future are clearly defined and accountability are well-established. (April – June 2015)