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Sitio de recursos de la economía social y solidaria

Interview of Josephine Gruta and Rolando Londonio - Golden Harvest Christian Ministry International, The Philippines.

In a very degraded economic framework, the Bayanihan economy or solidarity economy in Philipinnes puts at the center the questions of formation, the importance of God, to be delivered attitude of begging and to learn how to save and also undertaking in a different spirit.

Benjamin R. Quiñones, Jr., febrero 2004

1. What is the main goal of your economic activity?

Bayanihan is a tool for community and nation building through values formation and enterprise development. It addresses both the spiritual and physical needs of the people.

2. Do you practice AN ALTERNATIVE or ANOTHER economy? If ‘yes’, in what sense does it differ from the dominant.mainstream economy?

Bayanihan has the potential to create another economy, but at the moment it simply augments the existing economy because there are other ongoing programs in the communities I’m working with. In terms of the approach, however, Bayanihan is different because it feels the ‘pulse’ of the people. Furthermore, government programs lack spiritual component, which is an integral part of Bayanihan.

3. What is ‘WEALTH’, according to your own understanding? Is material wealth the ultimate goal you want to reach or a means for something else? What is that ‘something else’?

Wealth is success, and success results from a victorious and abundant mentality. People ingrained in poverty mentality can hardly meet success. Even if you give them money, if they don’t have the right attitude towards work and entrepreneurship, they may only use the money for immediate gratification of their needs and wants, and not for productive

purposes. The latter entails short-term sacrifice, which people with poverty mentality try to avoid because it seems to add more sacrifices to their lives.

 

4. What VALUES do you and your comrades practice in your daily life and work? Is it possible, in your opinion, that these values become predominant for the whole of society? How can they be generalized?

Important values of a person like me who works closely with the people are the following:

  • fear of God, which leads people to do what is righteous

    role modeling, that is, the willingness and ability to transfer knowledge and skills that have worked best for me

    being an encourager never give up – you should be the ‘last samurai’ to

stand up against all odds when everybody else are defeated and downcast

5. What innovations have you developed in the form of organizing property, management and the appropriation of the fruits of labor?

I have encouraged members of people’s organizations to share their talents/information/ resources one with the others. The usual practice is to share resources within a community, but I have gone beyond this by instituting exchange mechanisms between people’s organizations from

different villages. Related to this is the pooling of expertise / ideas from members of different organizations and enabling them to benefit from the sharing of their experiences.

6. Please enumerate the things you would consider as important when you work in a solidarity (cooperative) network or in a production chain guided by solidarity/cooperation?

Regular sharing/exchange of knowledge/skills on new technology

  • Teaching people the principles and practices of good stewardship

Training the people on how to establish and operate their own business enterprises.

Little things are also important such as showing people where to get things,

how to get business permit, raw materials, and the like.

7. Does your activity influence the life of the community? If ‘yes’, how, and in what spheres?

Our activities influence community life very markedly. For example, we have seen tremendous change/ transformation of the attitudes of people. They have better grooming and much improved decorum now, many have stopped their vices like drinking and gambling.

The ones who were troublemakers in the village have matured and become more responsible members of the community. Some have decided to attend church services.

8. What is your understanding of “WORK”, based on your experience? What value and meaning does it have in your life?

Work is responsibility as well as a source of satisfaction. Work is something I do with passion. I must be passionate in my work, otherwise, I’m not for it. I don’t mind whether work is paid or voluntary. I must enjoy my work; if it’s not fun, I don’t consider it as ‘work’. Work is also something you do that will help other people. Let me stress the point that work need not be compensated to attract my commitment. It can be

voluntary. If it’s something I enjoy doing, I don’t mind doing it for free.

9. What role does WOMAN play in an economic initiative guided by cooperation/solidarity?

Women are movers. They are influential in their own families. They can easily convince other women. This is important for Bayanihan because we work mainly with women, although we do not discourage men from joining the program. Women simply gets information disseminated much faster than men are able to.

10. How can public policies and the State contribute to the progress of a people’s economy guided by solidarity/ cooperation (bayanihan)?

The government can pass an ordinance to advocate and implement the Bayanihan program in all cities and municipalities of the Philippines. But the approach in implementing the ordinance should be the Bayanihan way. That is, as an immediate step, every government office should adopt the Bayanihan program for their own employees. Once the government

people have tasted the benefits of the program, they can share their experience to people in communities. A big risk of involving the government in the program is that politicians could politicize it and make use of it as a tool for marginalizing the political opposition.

11. Do you believe that a globalization of cooperation and solidarity is possible? If ‘yes’, how could this be realized?

Definitely, Bayanihan could globalize the solidarity movement we have started at the grassroots level. What could be done is to encourage Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) abroad to adopt the program so that they can help one another even in foreign countries.

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