Orlan Ravanera’s piece in the Sun Star lays out the fundamental principles inherent in a cooperative economic model.
By their very existence, the cooperatives are debunking a flawed development paradigm that allows a privileged few to use democracy to serve special interest groups at the expense of the people and the environment. They are vehemently condemning an elitist system that uses power, like vultures, feeding upon the flesh of the poor, the downtrodden and the oppressed as exemplified by the Napoles scandal. If indeed the named legislators have shamelessly pocketed billions at the expense of the people in whose name and for whose cause they are in government for, then those who are giving highest credence to time honored and universally-accepted cooperative democratic principles must now advance an alternative development paradigm. This time, it should be one that draws the marginalized sectors into the mainstream of development process anchored on the principles of social and solidarity economy that banners inclusive growth, one that responds to everyone’s needs but not to a few’s greed, and a development that is in harmony with nature and not at its own expense.
Ravanera also sees cooperatives as a vehicle for obtaining lasting peace and ecological integrity:
…cooperatives are advancing peace by uprooting the causes of war. By nature, nurture and by law, cooperatives’ raizon d’ etre is for social justice, equity and sustainable development. In fact, here in region 10, the cooperatives have laid down the path to peace. Thus, when there was this call to rise up in arms saying that some 60,000 combatants with high powered guns are ready for war, the cooperatives have declared that in Mindanao there are some 5 million cooperative members ready for peace because peace can only be had not through the fire-power of guns but by the strength of the human spirit in harmony and cooperation, collectively advancing social justice. It is so interesting to note that the cooperatives now are exemplifying the 7th cooperative principle which is the Concern for the Community that includes securing ecological integrity. The cooperatives have joined SULOG, an environmental coalition, to stop illegal mining and illegal logging. As they work to stop the hemorrhage of the ecological systems, they are also healing the blighted land back to life through mangrove rehabilitation and tree planting.