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New law designates cooperative development officers in LGUs 

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President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law a measure making the position of a Cooperatives Development Officer (CDO) mandatory in all local government units (LGUs).

Signed by Duterte on April 9, Republic Act 11535 amends RA 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991.

Under RA 11535, the municipal, city, and provincial levels will all be required to appoint a CDO who will be in charge of assisting promising groups and sectors in organizing and forming their own cooperatives.

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CDOs will also bridge regional cooperatives with the Cooperative Development Authority and other national government agencies to help them harmonize their goals with the national cooperative movement.

Other powers and duties of the CDO include:

-- Formulate measures for the consideration of the sanggunian (council) and provide technical assistance and support to the governor or mayor, as the case may be, in carrying out measures to ensure the delivery of basic services and provision of facilities through the organizing promotion and development of cooperatives, and in providing access to such services and facilities;

-- Develop plans and strategies in consultation with the cooperative sector and upon approval thereof by the governor or mayor, as the case may be, implement the same, particularly those which have to do with the integration of cooperatives values, principles, and practices in programs and projects, which the governor or mayor is empowered to implement and which the sanggunian is empowered to provide for;

-- Take the lead in identifying groups, sectors or communities that can be organized into cooperatives; provide assistance to prospective cooperatives in the conduct of the required preregistration seminar; provide technical and other forms of assistance to duly registered cooperatives; assist cooperatives in establishing linkages with government agencies, cooperative unions, and federations, the academe, and non-government organizations involved in the promotion and integration of the concept of cooperatives; and

-- Assist cooperatives in the development and implementation of risk management plans and business continuity plans and management as a response to anticipated or unexpected man-made and natural calamities and disasters, to aid in their survival and if necessary subsequent rehabilitation.

LGUs may appoint a full-fledged CDO or merge the responsibilities of a CDO to an existing position should this be more feasible with respect to the size of the local cooperative sector, or the capability of LGUs to carve out the proper emoluments from its budget.

CDO must be a Filipino citizen, preferably a resident of the LGU concerned, of good moral character, a holder of a college degree preferably in cooperatives, business administration with special training in cooperatives or any related course from a recognized college or university, and a first-grade civil service eligible or its equivalent.

He or she must have experience in cooperatives organizations and management or other comparable experiences of at least five years in the case of provincial or city CDO, and three years in the case of municipal CDO.

RA 11535 is a consolidation of Senate Bill 1855 and House Bill 5925 which were passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives on Feb. 16, 2021 and Feb. 17, 2021, respectively.


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