It was because of an urgent need to liberate a group of parents from the clutches of loan sharks and to give them and their children the chance for a more dignigied living that the organization of the DUMAGUETE CATHEDRAL CREDIT COOPERATIVE UNION (DCCCU) was conceived.
Way back in the mid-60s, the socio-economic difficulties experienced by many families seriously affected the financial and educational operations of the Dumaguete Cathedral College (DCC). Unredeemed IOU’s piled high; the low and delayed salaries affected teacher’s performance. The parents, desiring a Catholic education for their children, would often run to the loan sharks, the so-called 5-6 operators, to redeem their IOU’s. Unfortunately, many of those who went to the usurers thought they were greatly helped, not realizing that the practice and exorbitant interest plunged them more and more into indebtedness and misery.
Seeing first hand the painful and dehumanizing effects of poverty and exploitation, Mother M. Marcella Foret, O’ Carm., the school Directress, felt that the problem caDCCCO Founderslled for a drastic but innovative solution, not from outside, but from the dynamism within, that is, from the parents themselves. She believed that they alone can help themselves through the pooling of resources, trust, cooperation and service and so to them she introduced the coop concept.
Mother Marcella, given the blessings by the Most Rev. Epifanio B. Surban, the first Bishop of the Diocese of Dumaguete, and the wholehearted support of Governor Mariano F. Perdices, initiated without delay the organization of the cooperative within DCC. Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) Manager Amado Guilatco was tapped as consultant for the financial details.
After a series of meetings and co-op education, DCCCU (now known as DCCCO) was organized on February 17, 1968, with an initial capital of P1,181.50 contributed by forty-nine (49) parents and teachers of DCC. The first officers (1968) were:
The Co-op was officially registered on August 5, 1969 with the Cooperative Administration Office (CAO) under RA 2023 and re-registered on September 25, 1975 with the Bureau of Cooperative Development (BCOD) under PD 175. Its registration was confirmed by the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) on April 15, 1991.
Even before the pledges of P50.00 were all in, the co-op officers decided to start operation by giving out character loans for educational purposes. Miss Restituta A. Cariño and Mrs. Syvia L. Flores, DCC Principals of the Elementary and High School Departments, respectively, voluntered to handle alternately the co-op operations after their office hours. The first office was in the Elementary Principal’s Office. As the transactions increased it was moved to the Physical Examination (PE) Office.
Finding the Co-op’s services of savings and loans beneficial and liberating, the members opted to open membership to the larger community. This resulted in the accumulation of more capital and the extension of bigger loans and more services. Loans were no longer limited just for educational purposes, but amounts were also loaned out for productive purposes. The increased income from business and agriculture enabled parents themselves to take care of the educational expenses.
From that small beginning, DCCCO expanded successfully into a community-based Co-op. Volunteer team of educators, headed by Msgr. Onesimo C. Gordoncillo, Rev. Fr. Mardonio Honculada, Manuel and Carmen Gloria, Sylvia L. Flores, Crescencia and Luisa Magbanua, Felicitas S. Infante, Teofilo and Pilar Jayme traversed hills and streams to recruit members and give the PMES in chapels, private houses, and even under the trees in far-flung barangays. The 2-day PMES, where lesson on Dignity of Man is emphasized, was and is a strict requirement for membership. The number of members multiplied slowly, and so to provide prompt and professional service Mrs. Felicidad Lagarde-Ruiz was hired on April 1, 1976 as the first full-time paid staff.
To ease the Co-op’s problem of space, Bishop Surban allowed DCCCO to put up its own building within the Cathedral compound. In February 1977, the good Bishop blessed the first co-op building, constructed through bayanihan labor and members’ donations in the form of cash and materials. In 1988, a second floor was added to the original structure to accommodate the PMES and other meetings. In its 35 years of service, membership increased from 49 to 13,363 as of July 31, 2004 and the staff correspondingly grew from one to twenty-seven. To build a much bigger infrastructure became imperative. The General Assembly approved the purchase of a lot and the erection of a 3-storey building, and to “plow back their one-year dividends and patronage refund” to start the construction. Not a single centavo came from outside funding or borrowings – only the singular commitment, sacrifice and generosity of officers, staff and general memberhsip made the dream a reality. Built with DCCCO’s own resources, its new imposing building, now standing on its own lot at Sta. Rosa Street, was blessed by Bishop John F. Du on July 27, 2002.
The changing physical structures of the DCCCO building is a concrete testimony of the Co-op’s growth and development and solid foundation. True to its stated Vision and Mission, DCCCO has made available loans and services enabling members, “to have more, become more and be more.” (Pope Paul VI) DCCCO now offers a great variety of products and services (see details in SERVICES). DCCCO, linking with the Church, State, GO’s, PO’s and NGO’s, walks an extra mile in implementing its outreach program particularly the family-life apostolate, ecology, relief and rehabilitation, scholarship, sessions on self-awareness and leadership, skills traning and the training and development of other co-ops upon request, medical-dental-optical care, Credit Union Micro-Fnance Innovation (CUMI), and house and lot program.
Linkages with local, national and international co-op federation said Unions (NEORUNCO, PFCCO-VISCUL, PFCCO, ACCU and WOCCU) have kept DCCCO’s officers and staff up-dated with the latest trends and developments, and its policies well-defined, and tuned-in to the needs of the times.
With God’s blessings and our Blessed Mother’s protection, the seed which was planted by Mother Marcella, nurtured by Bishop Surban and Governor Perdices, constantly tended with loving care by the officers, staff and the general assembly has grown full blown today — a landmark of Christ-centerd service, cooperation, integrity and trust.
Born out of a corporal need, DCCCO caters,
not just for the temporal, the economic, the material.
Today it has grown as a pastoral response
reaching out to members from all walks of life,
training, guiding, counseling, witnessing the Gospel values,
sharing the human and material resources
for a balanced development
making one’s life comfortable, fulfilling, and dignified.
History’s value rests not on the memorizing of dates or names but on the retelling of the why of events. In a world of continuing changes, DCCCO can keep on fulfilling the dream of the innovators and members by remembering the past with gratitude, living the present with sincerity and shaping the future with prudence and faith.
9am to 5pm
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