CEBU CITY -- Members of Lamac Multi-Purpose Cooperative celebrated their co-op's 50th Anniversary with gala and pomp at the Cebu Waterfront Hotel on March 12.
The members also paid tribute to the pioneers of Lamac MPC, who started the co-op in what was then a secluded and isolated valley southwest of Cebu and, through co-operation, converted into a thriving community.
In attendance at the anniversary were the partners of Lamac – representatives of various government agencies, NGOs, government officials, and business partners who had helped Lamac MPC become one of the premier co-ops in the country today.
Lamac Multi-Purpose Cooperative has gone a long way.
The Lamac populace in 1973 was mostly farmers whose problem was to acquire their basic needs and services. Hence, Barangay Lamac before was without roads, only trails; without electricity, only kerosene lamps that dotted the darkness like fireflies; without tap and potable water, only deep-well and spring; no transportation of any kind, except their two feet which had grown callous to the thorny and dangerous trails as the main vehicle to transport basic needs and produce of the community.
It’s so timely that the Department of Local Government and Community Development (DLGCD) had a program to organize farmers into an association called “Samahang Nayon”; which gave birth to Lamac Samahang Nayon in the year 1973. Orientation training was conducted to at least 70 participants who were mostly tenants – tillers and small farm owners. They had contributed an initial capital of P50.00 per member. From the small beginning of P3,500.00, they started the operation of Consumer/Marketing Services by volunteer members.
From its creation as a Samahang Nayon, it garnered several awards. Management of various projects was successful until 1986 when the financial status of the coop declined due to various management and leadership problems. Since the SN projects became diversified, the management found it difficult to handle the operation. It was timely that a group of young local professionals and college levels organized and called themselves Barangay Lamac Organization on Management Effectiveness System, Inc. (BLOMES, Inc.) Its aim was to assist the organizations of the Barangay in terms of technical assistance. This group was requested by the SN management to assist in running the cooperative. Gradually, the LSN was rehabilitated with the assistance of fellow cooperative leaders from CPCUI.
On March 13, 1992 the Samahang Nayon was transformed and registered into a full-fledged multi-purpose cooperative under the BLOMES Inc. management. Henceforth, LMPC became a multi-awarded cooperative with united members, competent, committed and credible BOD, officers and staff.
In 1995, Lamac had a triple blessing. LMPC won 2nd prize in the Gawad Pitak Contest with a prize of P400,000.00. This inspired the pioneers to aim high and fulfill their dreams. Thus, in the same year another award was received, the RCBC Gawad Sikap with a prize of P100,000.00. The third blessing was the erection of Lamac as a parish. It was a significant event of Lamac since its constituents are mostly pious and was in longing for spiritual services. The Coop once again played its role in providing financial assistance in the construction of the convent and the major renovation of the church. On 8 December 1997, the dream of LMPC to construct a three-story building at the heart of Lamac worth P2,000,000.00 was realized. The building stood magnificently with all its grandeur, which served as the landmark of LMPC success. The building was named Gawad Pitak Building since it was built through the unified efforts of the members in winning the series of LBP Gawad Pitak competitions.
Lamac became densely populated and scarcity of water in the vicinity became the problem. By nature it is blessed with a cool Sinungkulan Spring and with several caves, which are to be developed for eco-tourism. The constituents are obsessed to have a water service, which was also the priority project of the barangay council. Financial constraints hampered the plan. The Barangay Council and LGU challenged LMPC to rehabilitate the old water reservoir. Thru fervent prayer God responded the need, LMPC won the 1st prize of the LBP Gawad Pitak Contest nationwide in the amount of P500,000.00. The prize was initially spent for the installation of the new water system. The representative of the third district of Cebu also extended an amount of P1.5 M for the filtration plant. Thus presently, water is already potable and available in most households in the community.
The DENR thru their Community Based Forest Management Assistance (CBFMA) Program entrusted LMPC to manage the 35 hectares of timberland to protect and preserve the watershed and the forest. Thru CBFMA the LMPC and DENR able to establish partnership top provide IGP to upland farmers such as swine dispersal, forest/fruit trees seedling production.
With these achievement, people from satellite Barangay joined LMPC. Moreover, people from the town of Pinamungajan came to Lamac asking if LMPC could extend their services for them because many of them had become victim of money usurers specially the women. So, with the guidance and blessings of our Almighty Father, this humble beginning of LMPC served as a strong foundation to commit prosperity wherein this hidden valley glitters and shares its blessings to the municipality of Pinamungajan thus it amended its area of operation from a Barangay base into a municipal wide operation in the year 1998. With the all out support of the members and the Local Government (LGU) who provided the lot in a strategic place of the town, a new branch office building was erected and inaugurated on December 10, 2000.
Early part of 2001 LMPC was able to establish linkage with Capital Credit Union (CCU) thru the twinning coop program of Canadian Cooperative Association (CCA) thru VICTO. A group of Canadian coop leaders came to visit LMPC to experience the Filipino coop way of life. In the same year, four of the LMPC coop leaders paid a return visit to Canada to share and exchange views pertaining to coop development.
On June 29, 2001, the LMPC was able to establish the Toledo Branch Office after the amendment of our area of operation which was for the entire 3rd District of Cebu (from Barili to Tuburan). Its entry point was the expansion of the microfinance project thru MAP and HELP services since LMPC became the conduit of PCFC and CARE Philippines.
On January 21, 2002, LMPC won the RAFI Triennial Award with prize P250,000.00. The amount was spent for the procurement of the lot for the housing project. Thereby it encourages the constituents to work harder to avail the credit facility so as to acquire a better and convenient home to live in. LMPC also plays a vital role in the Municipal Cooperative Development Council (MCDC) various activities like the small and big coop brother program. Because of this, LGU gave LMPC the preferential rights to finance the LGU admin-infrastructure projects. With this involvement, the CDA and the Representative of the 3rd Congressional District chose LMPC as the conduit of the Lingap sa Mahirap Fund with P1M and the PDAF with an amount of P4.9M. All these are for the financial and technical assistance of the PO’s, NGO’s and Coops within the 3rd District of Cebu.
In the year 2002, due to the demand of the members, the Balamban Branch Office was created which caters the members of Balamban, Asturias and Tuburan.
In the year 2017, once again, Lamac MPC bagged the Cooperative Development Authority Gawad Parangal as the 1st Placer for the National Most Outstanding Cooperative Large Scale Category and two special citations as Best in Gender and Development Mainstreaming and Excellence in Membership Growth and Expansion. Lamac MPC also garnered an International Award, the Joe Biden Awards and the Best Film Production – Edward Filene Credit Union Award for Performance Excellence. Opened the Moalboal Branch Office to serve more vulnerable sectors in the southern part of Cebu.
Last February 2018, Lamac MPC expanded its operations, opened up more branches in the Province of Cebu: Mandaue City, Argao, Carmen. And more branch offices were opened in the month of June 2018 in Bantayan Island, Daanbantayan and City of Naga. At present Lamac Multi-purpose Cooperative is operating in the whole Visayas and Mindanao with 32 business offices and counting in the Provinces of Cebu, Bohol, Negros Occidental, Leyte, & Southern Leyte and still hoping in God’s Divine Intervention for more expansions and development in order to deliver the desired services to its members and partners in the countryside.
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