COTABATO CITY ― A measure that would govern the registration, regulation, and development of the cooperatives in BARMM made its first step towards implementation as it entered its first reading in the Bangsamoro Parliament.
The BTA Bill No. 210, or An Act Providing for the Bangsamoro Cooperative and Social Enterprise Code is a joint effort by Members of the Parliament Diamila Disimban-Ramos, Atty. Ishak Mastuara, Atty. Lanang Ali Jr., Rasol Mitmug Jr., Amilbahar Mawallil, Engr. Baintan Ampatuan, Eddie Alih, Michael Midtimbang, Ali Sangki, and Atty. Suharto Ambolodto.
The comprehensive code, covering 70 pages, consists of four books, each addressing essential aspects of the cooperative and social enterprise sectors. These include general provisions, cooperative development, social enterprise development, and miscellaneous and final provisions.
The BTA Bill No. 210 seeks to establish a clear legal framework that encourages the creation and expansion of cooperatives as vital tools to foster economic development and social equity within the BARMM region. The proposed code will provide explicit guidelines for the establishment, functioning, and management of cooperatives.
Under the proposed code, a cooperative is defined as an autonomous and duly registered association of individuals with a shared interest who voluntarily come together to meet their social, economic, and cultural needs.
Such cooperatives would contribute equitably to the capital required, support their products and services, and share the risks and benefits of their endeavors in accordance with universally accepted cooperative principles and moral governance.
Meanwhile, social enterprises, under the code, are characterized as business organizations primarily dedicated to addressing social, cultural, or environmental challenges, with profit generation for owners and stakeholders being a secondary concern.
The code emphasizes that all cooperatives in the BARMM region must operate in alignment with moral governance, local cultures, values, and experiences, as well as universally recognized cooperative principles.
It includes voluntary and open membership, democratic member control, member economic participation, autonomy and independence, education, training, information sharing, cooperation among cooperatives, and concern for the community.
Similarly, social enterprises are required to adhere to principles such as fulfilling Shari’ah objectives, promoting halal transactions, generating legitimate wealth from business and asset-based transactions, avoiding haram (forbidden) practices, and sharing risks in business and financial transactions. The code strictly prohibits usury, gambling, speculative transactions, and haram products and services within cooperatives and social enterprises.
To streamline and oversee the viability and growth of Bangsamoro cooperatives and social enterprises, the code proposes the establishment of a dedicated governing body, the Cooperatives and Social Enterprise Authority (CSEA). The agency will be the sole entity responsible for registering cooperatives and social enterprises in the Bangsamoro Government.
Cooperatives may be classified into different types, including credit, consumer, producer, marketing, workers, and other categories determined by the CSEA.
In order to build a strong and enabling environment for social enterprises, the CSEA will organize the Bangsamoro Social Enterprise Council (BSEC), an alliance of social enterprise leaders leveraging their networks, knowledge, and experience.
Once BTA Bill No. 210 is enacted into law, a Committee on Cooperatives and Social Enterprises will be constituted, responsible for overseeing all matters related to the regulation and development of cooperatives and social enterprises, as well as reviewing the implementation of the code.
MPs Dan Asnawie, Ali Solaiman, Froilyn Mendoza, Khalid Hadji Abdullah, Tarhata Maglangit, Dr. Kadil Sinolinding Jr., Atty. Randolph Parcasio, Takawakal Midtimbang, Jaafar Apollo Mikhail Matalam, Engr. Don Mustapha Loong, MP Akmad Abas, Mohammad Kelie Antao, and Basit Abas are also co-authors of BTA Bill No. 210. (LTAIS-Public Information, Publication, and Media Relations Division)