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GARBEMCO SUCCES STORY

Within Barangay Goodyear is an agrarian reform cooperative known as GARBEMCO


Goodyear Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative, a rubber plantation
taken over by 400 workers of then Goodyear Rubber Corporation. When the plantation
was turned over in the year 1992, the rubber trees were senile and production was
declining. The years 1994 2000 were years of difficulties for the worker-members of
the Cooperative and the entire Barangay in general, as it went through rehabilitation
efforts. It was doubly hard for the workers when the plantation was affected by the Asian
Economic Crisis towards the end of the 90s. When production rose in 2000, prices of
rubber were not that good. In the years 2003 onwards, prices stabilized in the market,
only to be affected again by financial crisis in 2007-2009, this time a Global Financial
Crisis or GFC. Their financial problem worsen when they discovered that the
cooperative failed to pay its obligations with Landbank and SSS. The General Manager
was nowhere to be found and as a result, the workers were not able to receive their
salaries for one year. This became one of the darkest moments of the cooperative.

DOLE INTERVENTION

The huge financial reverses and losses of GARBEMCO coupled with enormous debts,
and penalties of their social obligations that totals to more than Php 20 million created
unrest among workers. To prevent the unrest and possible clashes with the 400 workers
and the management, a Quick-Response Team headed by the DOLE was established
on May 12, 2010 together with LBP, DAR, and FIDA that facilitated the camp-camp
consultation meeting.

A convergence cost sharing mechanism with FIDA was the alternative solution to help
GARBEMCO recover from their miserable situation. The DOLE awarded the livelihood
grant to the cooperative amounting to Php 475,000 for the procurement of Spindle
Stripping Machine.

The fiber stripping activity became a family undertaking, giving at least 2,000-3,000
pesos weekly to at least 161 project-based workers supporting 35 households in the
barangay. The project plays a big role in household economy and its contributions to
development in terms of reducing poverty. The sales from the fiber stripping enterprise
was utilize in the payment of SSS contributions of workers.
In June 2011 the fiber enterprise project was enhanced and launched as a Community
Enterprise Development Project (CEDP) through Abaca Rope, Twine and Bag Making.
This project generated livelihood of 9 unemployed women residents of Barangay
Goodyear earning gross sales of P334,772 since 2011, twenty-five percent of which go
to their salaries.
The support of the DOLE did not stop there, it continued to provide technical assistance
to the management and implemented programs that would benefit the workers of the
cooperative.
In 2011, the General Manager of GARBEMCO, Mrs. Lilia G. Manuel, became the PESO
Manager of the cooperative. Through her innovative approach and constant
collaboration with DOLE the following programs and services were successfully
implemented:
A. SPES
SPES GRANTEES
CY Total Grantee
2011 50
2012 0
2013 60
2014 100
2015 76
2016 60

B. WODP Scholarship
The scholarship grant under the Isabelo Reyes Scholarship was extended to the
children of GARBEMCO workers to provide opportunity to finish their tertiary
education. Jeldon Malinao a son of a rubber tapper was able to finish his
Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education last April 2016 through this
program. (Insert story of Jeldon)

C. Family Welfare Program


- Providing Family Welfare Services to workers through implementation of
family welfare dimensions
1. Education/Gender Equality: Annual Observance of Womens
Month, Establishment of Lactation Station
2. Religious Activities: Conduct of Regular Mass in the Office,
Kasalan sa GARBEMCO
3. Conduct of Family Day
4. Community Outreach Program: Medical Outreach, Feeding
Program, Gift Giving for Children
5. Livelihood Program: Kabuhayan Starter Kit (5 wives of workers
were awarded with manicure and pedicure sets, Rubber Nursery,
Abaca Handicraft, Poultry Raising, Goat Raising
6. Medical and Health Care for Workers Workers use the services
of Pathfinder Clinic for their medical needs
7. Nutrition Program provide feeding activities to toddlers and Day
Care pupils, offer low price of harvested fruits and milkfish to
workers
8. Observance of Nutrition Month
9. Environmental Protection Conduct of Tree planting activities,
Orientation on the Impact of Climate Change, Orientation on
Green Productivity
10. Sports and Leisure: Sports Fest and Coop Outing and
Teambuilding
11. Housing: Free Housing for retirees
12. Transportation: Subsidized transport during participation of Labor
Day Activities and other important Coop events.
Other Benefits enjoyed by workers: Leave Benefits, Cash Award for Best
Tappers of the Year, Best Capatazes of the Year and Best Employees of
the Year, Productivity Incentives
D. Trainings and Seminar: Labor Relations, Human Relations and Productivity
Seminar, Basic Occupational Safety Training, Alternative Dispute Resolution
Training, 5S of Good Housekeeping, Values Formation, Personal Development,
and Customer Service Training
E. Member, Industry Tripartite Council for Rubber Industry of Zamboanga Sibugay
- GARBEMCO has become a Big Brother to small and struggling cooperatives
by providing financial loans to other cooperatives for their operations. More
than 10 million pesos was utilized for this undertaking. Their support is very
timely because of the current economic crisis in the rubber industry.
GARBEMCO, a once struggling coop because of its debt problems is now
providing loans to other cooperatives.
F. Compliance with Labor Laws
- Despite the prevailing low rubber price that greatly affected the rubber
industry, GARBEMCO maintained good fiscal management and prioritize their
obligations to their workers. The cooperative was conferred with the
Certificate of Compliance on General Labor Standards and Occupational
Safety and Health by the DOLE on September 2015.
G. Green Our DOLE Program
- GARBEMCO is an active partner of DOLE in the implementation of Green our
DOLE Program since 2013 (2013- Mangrove Refo, 2014 Tree Planting along
the banks of Banker River, 2016 Buluan Island Coastal Clean Up)
H. Human Resource Development through Training of Employees: Rubber NC II
Training Certificate was awarded by TESDA to 65 GARBEMCO Workers, Human
Resource Management Training to Office Staff of GARBEMCO
Slowly GARBEMCO was able to rise from an impending fall. Transparency and smart
business decision enabled the cooperative to expand and improve their services. The
convergence support of different line agencies and the unceasing support of DOLE has
ignited the spark and inspired the workers and members of the cooperative to believe in
themselves and come out of the predicament they have been enduring for so many
years. Proof to their success was the conferment of the Land Bank of the Philippines
the 2012 Most Outstanding Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative
National Level for maintaining good fiscal management and increasing workers
productivity. In the same year, GARBEMCO also received a certificate from DOLE for
paying their workers over and above the minimum wage and for being a staunch
implementer of the FWP. In 2015, the cooperative received the Certificate of GLS and
OSH Compliance from the DOLE, the SSS also recognized the cooperative for being
up-to-date in their payments. In addition, the Cooperative Development Authority
awarded GARBEMCO with the Certificate of Good Standing.
GARBEMCO is now reaping abundant harvest from the hard work they invested. Right
now, they are considered as the leader of the pack among rubber-based cooperative.
GARBEMCO has gone through hardships one after the other but the Cooperative was
able to get over the hurdles and obstacles through integrity of the management and
unity of cooperative members and workers.
Before 2011, everyone thought that GARBEMCO will break apart and end its existence
because of constant workers and management conflict coupled with back to back
financial crisis. Their dire situation did not stop or discourage the DOLE and other
partner agencies to give livelihood and other assistance. Staying true to their
commitment, GARBEMCO did not fail the partnership with government agencies they
even exceeded expectations like phoenix rising from the ashes.