Friday, May 23, 2014

Setting The Record Straight

We are very thankful to all the members for the success of the recently concluded General Membership Assembly 2014. FICCO’s 59th GA was generally successful and peaceful.  Except for one -- the Main Office General Assembly – as there were issues related to one member of the Board of Directors, Mr. ISAGANI B. DABA. These said issues were thrown to destroy a person’s credibility through text messages, mega phone announcements, fliers of judgement, and other black propaganda -- all these with the goal of degrading a person’s integrity to the fullest extent. These dirty tricks were uncalled for. We would like the general membership of FICCO to be aware that the elections of our leaders are won because of their platform of government to push FICCO forward and upward, not to discredit another candidate’s integrity in order to get sympathy votes.  

The Management of FICCO would like to express its view of the issues concerning Mr. Isagani B.Daba. Let’s begin by knowing who he is as far as FICCO Management is concerned.

He is a fair and just leader. Mr Daba has always sought balance, fairness, and justice and applies these to every issue at hand. He doesn’t hastily judge.  Rather, he critically analyzes the situation and gives prudent opinions on issues being deliberated. It’s for this very reason that his voice is heard and respected.  However, his is not necessarily the only voice in the Board that controls the discussion or the decision making.

He has never taken advantage of his position for personal gains nor has he ever bestowed favours on anybody in exchange for anything at FICCO’s expense. This is in contrast to the misinformation irresponsibly spread by people that claimed Mr Daba pocketed commissions in various transactions being undertaken by FICCO. Instead, he always found ways for FICCO to get discounts in any business deal.  He continually hammers Management to leverage FICCO’s numbers to obtain discounts from establishments where members often transact. He’s also very vocal when there are dealings which he finds very expensive and then finds ways to cut costs for Management. He makes sure expenses are kept low. He even reviews the budget with the Management. He is very passionate about his service to the general membership.  In truth, we have not yet found anyone as dedicated in serving FICCO; a dedication that extends to sacrificing time that could have been spent with his family and his grandsons whom he obviously misses.

He lives by his words. His life is a living testimony to his leadership. He lives life simply.  He has always kept a very low profile and he has never had an extravagant lifestyle.  Most FICCO staff he has worked with can testify to this.

He shuns hotels during visits to FICCO branches and is very conscious when it comes to spending as these are expenses and expenses lessen the allocation for dividends and patronage refunds. The Management,in our off-meeting discussions, often talk about his sacrifices and how he endures it all. We recognize it is not normal for someone to continue serving this long especially when being lambasted by issues without any shred of truth in them.  We attribute it to the fact that he is simply answering God’s call to serve His people through the coop movement.  The people throwing stones at him also claim to be leaders.  We cannot help but ask, though: what have they done to move FICCO forward? What are their plans for FICCO?  Yes, we, the Management, do analyze motives; we decide for ourselves who among these who claim to be leaders really have the heart to serve FICCO. We encourage the members to do likewise.  It is, after all, an exercise of FICCO’spreservation.

More than a Mentor, a Man of Action. “Ductos Exemplo”. Mr. Daba’s life is an inspiration to us because he leads by example.  He hates mediocrity and procrastination (as witnessed by us) but is quick to listen and considers whatever is practical (again, as witnessed by us). He values everybody’s opinion and does not rush to judgement. Mr. Daba is highly respected by the Management because he can “walk the talk”. He is the only member of the Board who not only goes the extra mile but is also very hands-on in the operation.

 

He never publishes his accomplishments. Mr Daba doesn’t sing his own praises.  But we have witnessed several instances where great hurdles have been encountered by FICCO.  And when most have said “No” and have given up, he has said “Yes” and then proceeded to lead FICCO, with team effort and Management support, in undertaking ventures that would ultimately prove beneficial to FICCO’s members.

A concrete example of such a challenging venturewould be the Mutual Aid Fund (MAF).  It was Mr. Daba who designed the MAF products and pushed for this service to be offered to the members which led to the creation of the MAF department.  When we first introduced the MAF, there was a barrage of negative comments, questions raised, and even membership withdrawals. But when MAF finally took off and started servicing members’ hospitalizations and death aids, members began to understand its value.  Eventually, MAF became their comfort zone.

Several years ago, we introduced the Mutual Benefit Association (MBA).It was Mr. Daba who created the documents required by the Insurance Commission (IC) and followed up the association’s approval with the IC.  Again, we faced overwhelming odds as members resisted despite the MBA’s purpose of institutionalizing the insurance of FICCO. More to the fact, the Department of Finance (DOF), Insurance Commission (IC), and the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) had issued a joint circular that all in-house insurance created by primary cooperatives must be dissolvedand that cooperatives can apply for a mutual benefit association with the Insurance Commission. This is the sole reason for the shift from MAF to MBA. It was never about somebody getting even with somebody or removing someone from office.  It was simply to follow the joint circular, otherwise, FICCO would not be given the License to Operate by the CDA.

Another example is the Branching-Out of FICCO, something that other coops and rural banks have taken a closer look at to use as a template in their own expansions.  Records would show that FICCO approved the creation of a branch in Carmen back in 1986.  Mr Daba wasn’t part of the Board during this time. It was only in 1992, when Mr. Daba again became a member of the Board, that the Carmen Branch was finally established.  Until now, the Carmen Branch is a very strong branch, continuing to serve FICCO members.  Mr. Daba then developed and fine-tuned the practice of FICCO branching out.  The rest of the 65 branches and business centers are now part of FICCO’s history.

ICFS is his Vision:

The vision of creating an Integrated Cooperative Financial System (ICFS) is the single most important challenge for FICCO and the cooperative movement in the country. Yes, the vision is very ambitious but we have every reason to believe it’s not far from happening. We are positive.  We ask the membership now: can we find it in ourselves to take a constructive stance on this, our vision? FICCO is a reflection of us, the membership. Let us take the choice,the chance that can change our lives for the better. To the members of FICCO,the Management urges you to support this vision.

So what has Mr Daba spearheaded to achieve this?

The Merger/Consolidation of the Cooperative Banks. We are all aware that we have consolidated three (3) Cooperative Banks; the Cooperative Banks of Surigao  del Sur (CBSS), First Community Cooperative Banks of Misamis Occidental (FBMO), and Cooperative Bank of Davao del Sur (CBDS).   We have done several due diligence audits to numerous cooperative banks in the country.  FICCO has created a due diligence team to conduct audits for possible investments.  Not all possible investments where undertaken because the due diligence showed,in some cases, that the turnaround of these banks were not feasible.

Allow us to tell you another truth: Mr. Daba was always present in the due diligence audits we conducted and actively participated in the evaluation. He shared his considerable financial expertise for free.  FICCO has saved the hundred thousands of pesosfor the cost of these examinations had these been contracted elsewhere. While the cooperative banks we now own and have consolidated are not without problems,these problems are manageable. More importantly, these cooperative banks have given us our due share in dividends and patronage refunds. Let us ask, who else can offer their skills, expertise, time, and service?  Who else would be willing to get nothing in return? We’re very fortunate to have someone who can give up things simply to help FICCO grow.  FICCO’s progress has become so substantial that FICCO is now very attractive to many power hungry individuals.  We cannot emphasize this more strongly: we need to guard our FICCO against these predators.

The Cooperative Insurance merger/consolidation is now in progress. We already have CLIMBS as FICCO’s insurer.  We are now in the process of bringing together the Cooperative Insurance System of the Philippines (CISP) and our FICCO MBA into a merger or consolidation. Our ICFS vision is to merge or consolidate so we have one insurance cooperative in the country. The one member of the Board who is helping us make these things happen is Mr. Daba.  He was instrumental in getting FICCO into CLIMBS several years ago – a move that has proved very beneficial to FICCO and the members.  Today, he is sitting as the Executive Vice President of CISP on the condition that the merger of CISP and FICCO MBAbe the foremost goal. This again involved sacrifice on his part as CISP is in Manila and this meant being away from his home. One may ask, why was this role not offered to other Board members?  It was.  No one else was willing to volunteer.

The Offshoot of the Recent General Assembly:

There were issues thrown at Mr Daba during the recent general assembly. We now would like to set everything straight and in order. So let’s discuss, issue by issue, to clear things out.

The Commission on Insurance. Be it in CLIMBS, CISP or FICCO MBA, Mr. Daba has never accepted commissions, gifts, or allowances, or anything monetary related to Insurance. In those cases when CLIMBS gave such to him, he told CLIMBSto add these to FICCO’s investments. All these are supported by receipts and can be examined by any FICCO member. These he did even when the amounts were very tempting.  A concrete example would be the P450,000 incentive from CLIMBS.  CLIMBS had awarded Mr. Daba P450,000 as finder’s fee because of FICCO’s investment in CLIMBS.  Mr. Daba never pocketed this.  Instead, he made sure it was added to FICCO’s investment in CLIMBS.  This needs to be made clear as this was used as black propaganda during the General Assembly.

The Judgment on the Libel Case. Mr Daba was convicted in a libel case filed by Estela Gadian. We’d like all FICCO members to know that he was convicted by the RTC for telling the truth and NOT for pocketing money from anybody. This case is now with the Court of Appeals and we don’t want to express anything about the merit of the case here.

The FICCO Condominium.Let it be put on record that Mr.Daba did NOT try to rush the construction of the FICCOndominium.  In fact, as is his tendency to be prudent with investing FICCO’s money, it was he who tried to put some brakes to the attempt to fast track it.  He was the one who suggested that a survey be conducted first to find out if there is interest on the part of the members.  Then, he suggested pre-selling be done before actual construction should commence.Minutes of the Board meetings contain records of these and can be examined by any member of FICCO.

Bigger Appropriation for Patronage Refund. Mr. Daba was also accused of insisting on a bigger appropriation for patronage refund because, allegedly, he and his family have a big amount of loans.  Foremost, the bigger appropriation for patronage refund is a mandate by CDA under the covering implementing rules and regulations (IRR), a copy of which is posted in the bulletin board of FICCO.  Secondly, it did not occur to the one spreading this canard that if you have a big loan, you must also have a big share capital.  Logically, a big share capital means a big dividend. However, because of the CDA mandate, while there’s bigger patronage refund, the dividend will also decrease.

Death Threats through Text Messages.Last March 20, 2014, the family of Mr. Daba received calls and text messages that threatened to kill him and his wife, Tessie Daba. The same text messages also attempted to extort money from them. It is obviously very discouraging to note that for one’s acts of service he/she will not only be recipient of unfounded accusations but will also be gifted with death threats to him/her and even the members of his/her family. We in the management of FICCO condemn these actions to the highest extent. Whoever did this has no right to be a member of FICCO or serve as an official in our cooperative.

Our Request to all the FICCO Members

It is a fact that while leaders and board members come and go, the Management stays on for a number of years and gains institutional knowledge.

Yes, as employees, we are not allowed to take sides with anybody running for elective position at FICCO.  However, we always take the side of the truth.  Now that the GAs are over, we make this statement just to set the records straight.

We, the Management, know very well who among our volunteer officers really work to achieve our collective goals so that FICCO can give reasonable dividends and patronage refunds to you members. FICCO is now a big enterprise and thus attracts people who want to use it as a springboard to establish names for themselves. Some of these contribute nothing to FICCO.

If there are people who should be more concerned about FICCO’s fate, it is us, the management not because it is our source of livelihood but we take this, because we stand by the truth.

While we will never interfere with the democratic process of members electing officers, we believe that democracy can only properly function if you, the members, know the real score.  Thus, we make this statement so you know the real score. 

We stand for the truth.  We appeal to all FICCO members to constantly stand for this, too.

With this, we put our fate, as well as the fate of our beloved FICCO, into the hands of an all-knowing and all-powerful Almighty God.

The FICCO Management

N.B.

A fellow staff of FICCO narrated that,one morning, he saw the couple – Mr. Daba and his wife --in Jollibee, near Xavier University, CDO. He said “We were on separate lines to the counter.I ordered what I wanted and saw the couple do the same.  The couple didn’t recognize me since I’m new at FICCO. After the food was served, I was puzzled seeing that the couple got only one breakfast meal. What amazed me was that the couple tore the styrofoam and shared that one breakfast meal between them. Now, that was really something.Talk about simple living and prudent spending.  They didn’t know someone in the store knew both of them.They obviously were not showing to the world they’re like that; it just came naturally to them. That’s how life should be lived.”




Wednesday, May 15, 2013

2013 Comelec Result as of May 15, 2013 3:29PM

Click to see bigger image. 2013 Comelec result as of May 15 2013 3:29PM

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Bugs are food of the future: UN agency By Ella Ide, Agence France-Presse

ROME, Italy -- Beetles, caterpillars and wasps could supplement diets around the world as an environmentally friendly food source if only Western consumers could get over their "disgust," the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said on Monday.
"The main message is really: 'Eat insects'", Eva Mueller, director of forest economics at the FAO, told a press conference in Rome.
"Insects are abundant and they are a valuable source of protein and minerals," she said.
"Two billion people -- a third of the world's population -- are already eating insects because they are delicious and nutritious," she said.
Also speaking at the press conference was Gabon Forestry Minister Gabriel Tchango who said: "Insect consumption is part of our daily life."
He said some insects -- like beetle larvae and grilled termites -- were considered delicacies.
"Insects contribute about 10 percent of animal protein consumed by the population," he said.
The report said insect farming was "one of the many ways to address food and feed insecurity."
"Insects are everywhere and they reproduce quickly, and they have high growth and feed conversion rates and a low environmental footprint," said the report, co-authored by the FAO and Wageningen University in the Netherlands.
But the authors admitted that "consumer disgust remains one of the largest barriers to the adoption of insects as viable sources of protein in many Western countries."
Mueller said that brands such as yogurt maker Danone and Italian alcoholic drinks maker Campari used dye from insects to color their products.
It suggested that the food industry could help in "raising the status of insects" by including them in recipes and putting them on restaurant menus.
"Beetles, grasshoppers and other insects... are now showing up though on the menus of some restaurants in some European capitals," said Mueller, as she showed photo slides of crickets being used as decoration on top of high-end restaurant desserts.
The report also called for wider use of insects as feed for livestock, saying that poor regulation and under-investment currently meant it "cannot compete" with traditional sources of feed.
"The use of insects on a large scale as a feed ingredient is technically feasible, and established companies in various parts of the world are already leading the way," it added, highlighting in particular producers in China, South Africa, Spain and the United States.
"Insects can supplement traditional feed sources such as soy, maize, grains and fishmeal," it said, adding that the ones with most potential were larvae of the black soldier fly, the common housefly and the yellow mealworm.
The report also said the insects most commonly consumed by humans are beetles (31 percent), caterpillars (18 percent) and bees, wasps and ants (14 percent), followed by grasshoppers, locusts and crickets (13 percent).
The report said a total of 1,900 species of insects are consumed around the world.
It said trade in insects was thriving in cities such as Bangkok and Kinshasa and that a similar culture of insect consumption -- entomophagy -- should be established elsewhere, stressing that it was often cheaper to farm insects.
While beef has an iron content of 6.0 milligrams per 100 grams of dry weight, the iron content of locusts varies between 8.0 and and 20 milligrams per 100 grams, the report said.
It also said that insects require just two kilograms of feed to produce one kilogram of insect meat compared to a ratio of 8-to-1 for beef.
The report concluded: "History has shown that dietary patterns can change quickly, particularly in a globalized world. The rapid acceptance of raw fish in the form of sushi is a good example."
"Not everybody is ready to pop a bug in their mouth," Mueller said. "It will probably take a while. But some people are already doing it."
© 1994-2013 Agence France-Presse