LGU-Cooperative Partnership with the Pavia Eco-Savers’ Bank

The LGU-Cooperative partnership with the Pavia Eco-Savers’ Bank is a model of women economic empowerment (WEE) transformation. In Pavia, Iloilo, WEE is highly visible in the public market operations and in the Eco-Savers’ Bank projects, through the Pavia Entrepreneurs Multi-Purpose Cooperative (PEMPC). The PEMPC, which was established by women market vendors, supports the economic initiatives of women.

In 1997, the Pavia Public Market Vendors comprised mostly of women, organized the Pavia Entrepreneurs’ Multi-Purpose Cooperative (PEMPC) to extend microfinance services to its members. Ten years later, the PMPC set up the Pavia Eco-Savers’ Bank, in partnership with the Local Government Unit of Pavia. From a mere P2.00 daily contribution from its members when it started, the Cooperative now boasts of a Php13.2 million asset size.

PEMPC applied for accreditation with the Sangguniang Bayan to comply with the Local Government Code. As an accredited NGO in Pavia, it was appointed as the NGO representative in the Local Development Council, Municipal Cooperative Development Council, Municipal Peace and Order Council, Council for Protection of Children and Women, the GREAT Women Project and other local special bodies. The Cooperative has been an active partner of the municipal government of Pavia.

In 1999, the Pavia LGU guaranteed a loan that was extended to women entrepreneurs in the market. The Iloilo Provincial Government provided the loan amounting to P50,000. The Pavia LGU signed a memorandum of agreement with the cooperative in 2003, allowing municipal employees of the LGU to be members of the cooperative and avail of its services and benefits. The LGU of Pavia further empowered the cooperative by transferring the management of the municipal public market to the cooperative, thus making Pavia the first municipality to have a public market that was being managed by a cooperative. The cooperative introduced proper sanitation practices and was able to improve business tax collection in the public market.

At present, the cooperative has 417 members, two-thirds of whom are women. Membership has expanded to include vendors of the Pavia Public Market, municipal employees, jeepney operators, barangay officials, teachers, day care workers and tricyle drivers and operators. Aside from managing the public market, the cooperative offers services such as loans (regular, short-term, rediscounting and microfinance), savings and time deposits, benevolence to members, mutual death benefit, facilitation of barangay permits, BIR registration, business permits of members, and payment of SSS, PhilHealth and Pag-Ibig contributions.

In September 2009, the Pavia LGU sent the officers of the cooperative and the LGU department heads to an exposure trip to Marikina City where they learned the concept of solid waste segregation and management. Upon their return to Iloilo, they prepared a proposal to the LGU for the establishment of the Eco-Savers’ Bank. The Eco- Savers’ Bank, overseen by the PEMPC, was launched in October 2009. Four of those involved in the setting -up of the Eco-Savers Bank are members of the GWP Technical Working Group.

The Eco-Savers’ Bank is a mechanism to convert recyclables into cash for member-depositors. It gets deposits from members in the form of recyclables which earn points with corresponding peso equivalent upon redemption. Every Friday, members may deposit recyclable wastes and are issued coupons representing points, which they can encash in the months of May, June, October and December. The Eco-Savers’ Bank minimized the problem of solid waste, because of solid waste segregation. It provided, women depositors a chance to have additional income and also created jobs to manage the bank’s operations.

Written by:
Joy Doronila Palmada, Manager, Eco-Savers’ Bank
Baltazar J. Gumana, MPDC and Focal Person, GWP for Pavia, Iloilo