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Love and solidarity in the Cooperative Movement!

My dear Cooperators, in behalf of the Board and management of our Metro South Cooperative Bank, we are gathered once more with profound gratitude as we celebrate our 21st  Annual General Assembly and Election of Officers this coming May 6 at the PICC with our 2017 theme, "MSCB: Cooperative banking is the catalyst for genuine equitable change."

The cooperative movement led by cooperative banks can truly revitalize the clarion call in our country for inclusive growth and more equitable distribution of resources toward poverty eradication since by its very nature the soul of cooperativism is unity, mutual help and social equity. The corporate economic model of trickle down movement has never been effective in curbing the grinding poverty that is causing all these social ills that the country is experiencing. Unequal distribution of wealth is counterproductive and produce more suffering for the majority and an ever widening social divide. We need an alternative economic system that is more oriented to the common good and the cooperative sector is there to take the social challenge. 

We believe that the cooperative economic model is the pragmatic option for genuine equitable change.

Even Pope Francis in the Catholic Church supports cooperatives as an alternative to the prevailing economics of exclusion:

First, the Pope said, cooperatives must continue to be “the motor that uplifts and develops the weakest parts of our local communities and civil society.”

Second, the Pope urged the cooperative movement to be a “protagonist” in proposing new developmental solutions, particularly in the area of healthcare, encouraging the young and building new social enterprises.

As a third point, he spoke of the economy and its relationship with social justice and human dignity. Speaking of the need to “globalize solidarity,” he urged to bring the cooperatives to the “existential peripheries” and to continue to be “prophetic” by “inventing new forms of cooperation.”

The cooperative creates a “new type of economy” that allows “people to grow in all their potential,” socially and professionally, as well as in responsibility, hope and cooperation, he said. The Pope clarified that while he was not saying income growth is not important, it certainly “is not enough.”

He exhorted the cooperative movement to join the global economy to promote both "an economy of honesty" and "a healing economy." He urged them to exercise “the courage and the imagination to build a just path, so as to integrate development, justice and peace in the world. 

“And this is also a Christian call to all,” he continued off-the-cuff. “Christian values not only for ourselves. They are to be shared. Share them with those, who do not think as we do but who want the same thing that we want.”

These inspiring insights and economic thoughts of Pope Francis help us to level up our cooperative idealism especially resonating in the global cooperative decade 2011-2020.

On the other hand, to pursue the Cooperative Vision 2020, the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) is pushing a defined strategy of five critically interlinked imperatives,

1. Elevate participation within membership and good governance in a renewed level 

2. Position cooperatives as builders of sustainability 

3. Build the cooperative message and secure the cooperative IDENTITY

4. Ensure supportive legal frameworks for cooperative growth 

5. Secure reliable cooperative capital while guaranteeing member control

As a vibrant social movement, we also continue to support the road map of the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) that empowers the cooperative movement to become game changer in (1) Poverty reduction and empowerment of the poor and the vulnerable; (2) Rapid, inclusive and sustained economic growth; (3) Transparent, accountable and participatory governance; (4) Just and lasting peace and the rule of law; (5) Integrity of the environment and climate-change adaptation and mitigation.

The Metro South Cooperative Bank last year 2016 designed a powerful strategy in order to be different in the banking industry and find its own positioning to maximize the members' benefit and consolidate the resources of the cooperative sector. It is dubbed as the Ownership Pledge Program (OPP).  The objective is to introduce ownership banking based on the solid commitment of members as owners and a systematic relationship building approach to sustain the engagement of all stakeholders of the bank.

We further believe that the OPP strategy of the bank will calibrate the cooperative principles and practices grounded on self help and mutual responsibility and resonate the spirit of cooperation in the entire cooperative sector paving the way for more mergers and consolidations in the movement from all types of cooperatives thus ensuring the concerted strength of the sector to withstand external pressure and optimize the advantage to the sector that benefits the bottom of the pyramid.

Let us therefore continue to dialogue and pray that the new strategy of MSCB may bring about the magnitude, impact, relevance, and sustainability of the products and services of the bank gearing towards the unification of the cooperative banks in the Philippines by 2020 under the One Cooperative Bank (OCB) undertaking.

May the good Lord Jesus bless and protect our cooperative community that realize the vision of the early Christian community in the Acts 4,32 " The community is one in mind and heart in prayer, word of God, the Eucharist and sharing their blessings so that no one is hungry and in need." The Lord is pleased.

God bless our Metro South Cooperative Bank moving forward toward year 2020!!!


In opus ministerii,


Rev. Fr. Antonio CT Pascual                                                                                                                                                                                          Chairman, Board of Directors 


2016 TOFIL Awardee for Humanitarian service, Community NGO and Cooperatives                                                                                                                      (A joint project of JCI Senate Philippines and the ANSA Foundation Inc.)