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Alex Raquepo: Ilocos Region's Co-op Man

Rare are those who have been steeped in cooperative principles in their youth and continue to do so decades later.  Alexander B. Raquepo is among that rare breed.  

Alex hails from Sta. Cruz, Ilocos Sur and is the eledest son of the three children of Mr. and Mrs. Fidencio Raquepo.   Born in 1962 in Dagupan, Pangasinan, he is happily married to Evelyn de Castro and blessed with three boys: Junior, Jose Bernardo, and Gelo.
Family members describe him as a loving and caring husband, a responsible father, and a thoughtful grandfather.

He finished his Bachelor’s Degree in Agricultural Education at Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University in La Union.
Insatiable desire for learning earned him a Master’s Degree in Public Management from the University of the Philippines – Baguio City.

A USAID scholarship allowed him to finish Development Management in Asian Institute of Management, completing the course with honors.  He has also completed courses in Enterprise Development Management from the Development Academy of the Philippines and Bayan Academy.  

His passion in the cooperative movement is translated through his leadership in various organizations.  He has served as Board Member of the NATCCO Network, Philippine Cooperative Center (PCC), Metro South Cooperative Bank (MSCB).  He has also Chaired Norlucedec, Ilocos Sur Cooperative Bank, Nueva Segovia Consortium of Cooperatives.  

He is Chairman of the highly successful Sta. Cruz Savings and Development Cooperative (SACDECO), a billionaire co-op in Region 1.

What he has learned from his academic years, professional and personal experiences are selflessly shared with others, especially to his colleagues in the cooperative movement.  He is frequently invited to speak in trainings nationwide and inspired others to be more active and engaging.

Having been recognized as the Most Outstanding Cooperative Leader in the 2017 Gawad Parangal Awards of the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA), he believes awards are just icing on the cake.

What he truly values is the knowledge and experiences he imparts to others, helping them to push the co-op sector in the mainstream of development.

But where did he get the knowledge and the passion for co-ops?  “I learned the Cooperative Values and Principles from my parents.  My father was the first Manager and my Mother the first Chairperson.  That was way back in 1982 when very few people knew about co-ops.  Skeptics thought the co-op was just another one of those investment gimmicks or the failed Samahang Nayon,” he recalls.

Nepotism?  Raquepo shrugs it off with a smile: “My parents worked without pay or any compensation.  My Dad recruited members from house to house.  I was one of the first members as my membership number is “8”.  Each member is assigned a number for life.  I am number eight of the 42,000 members of SACDECO today!”

Raquepo is also an advocate of Gender Equality in co-ops.  In 2006, the Asian Women in Cooperatives in Forum (AWCF) visited SACDECO bringing with them Swedish consultants, proposing to start a Gender mainstreaming program.

“Would you believe that we actually refused?  We felt that we did not need Gender Equality!” he said.

But after a survey the co-op leaders conducted, they realized that there indeed were issues and decided to undergo training with AWCF.

Raquepo became the first male Gender Equality Trainer in the country, and he is very proud of it.  “Gender training should be done not just by women but by men,” says Raquepo.

Alex serves in the Board of Trustees of the Gender Equality Resource Center (GERC).

He also served as the Chief of Staff of COOP-NATCCO Partylist Representative Jose Ping-ay when he began his term in late 2008, providing insight in the legislative agenda of the Partylist.  Raquepo had been active in the Coop-NATCCO Partylist since its establishment in 1997, first as Regional Coordinator in Ilocos, and eventually as Coordinator under COOP-NATCCO Rep. Gil Cua.
In the NATCCO Network, one can be sure to see Raquepo at General Assemblies, giving his inputs and comments.  By the questions he asks, it gives one the impression that he reads the details of the Management’s Report.

With portions from Philippine Cooperative News

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