RPCO 2 I-REAP component assists Wigan Settlers Cooperative
Headed by Mr. Nilo Aquino, I-REAP Business Development Officer (BDO), the team from the Regional Project Coordination Office 2 (RPCO 2) oriented the officers and members of the Board of Wigan Settlers Multi-purpose Cooperative (WSMPC) located in Wigan, Cordon, Isabela on the parts of a Business Plan and validated the site for breeding, hatchery, and rearing ponds.
“We really intend to partner with the Philippine Rural Development Project. Our cooperative started small, but with perseverance from the members and officers, we have expanded our operations,” Ms. Gladicia Cuhmaling, WSMPC Manager said.
Mr. Nilo Aquino discussed the parts the business plan and asked the officers if they can come up with the documentary requirements. The officers said they have the documents and they have the capability to operate the identified Tilapia Fingerlings Production and Marketing Enterprise.
Ms. Cuhmaling said they have hired a hatchery technician, Mr. Mark Ferdinand Magtutu, to ensure that the cooperative will have a full blast operation on fingerlings production.
The officers also assured the I-REAP group that they have enough expansion site in Wigan and in Villa Marzo, Cordon, Isabela.
Barangay Wigan was once a pasture land located on the Southern part of Villa Marzo, Cordon, Isabela. Due to the construction of Magat Dam in Ramon, Isabela. Ifugao tribes of different customs and traditions living along the Magat River were affected. In 1976, the National Irrigator’s Association (NIA) personnel conducted a census of all the tribes scattered along the Magat River. The NIA promised to give the settlers 3 hectares’ farm lot, a residential house on a lot with a total value of P273,000.00 per family head.
On August 1983, the Philippine Assistance for Intercultural Development (PAFID) arrived headed by a representative named Judith Bacwaden she organized the Wigan Settlers Organization (WSO). Seeing that the only source of living was farming, PAFID Office sent an Agriculture technician name Willy Tolentino to help farmers on how to till lowland farming while other representative oriented Settlers on Cooperative Pre Membership and Management to the WSO officers and interested residents.
With burning commitment, the officers run the cooperative without honorarium. They shared their time, talent free of service catering to the needs of every member. Manager Veronica Leano served the cooperative from 1991- 1999 with Mr. Benjamin Guinobang as the BOD Chairman, followed by Mr. Roger Chinyuna and Dr. Gilbert Hoggang as the succeeding chairman. Due to greener pasture, Mrs. Leano resigned as a manager so Dr. Gilbert Hoggang assumed the leadership until 2005. Ms. Emily Bitog exemplified her managerial skills from 2006 to 2010 followed by Susana Liangna and Gladicia Cumahling in 2012 up to the present with Dr. Zenaida Hoggang as the chairman of the board for three terms. By this time, WSO has become Wigan Settlers Multi-purpose Cooperative (WSMPC).
The two-storey cooperative building in Wigan was finished on March 2019 to better serve the members. Today, the cooperative offers services which include Productive, Providential, Special, and Salary Loans. General Merchandise, Savings Deposits (windows of savings), Time Deposits, In-house members’ benefits (MAF, MBB, living benefits, burial, and senior citizen plan program) and scholarships are also offered by the cooperative.
“Good management and commitment are the heart and soul of a cooperative,” Ms. Gladicia Cuhmaling said. (Dr. Ferdinand N. Cortez, RPCO2 InfoACE)