Dr. Emiliano Hudtohan

Educator, Business Writer, Industry Expert and Entrepreneur

Social Work

Column: Green Light

Manila Standard Today

March 31, 2014

On March 18, 2014 I delivered a keynote address at the International Social Work Day forum organized by Dean Emeritus Nenita Cura of the Philippine School of Work of PWU and national president Eva Ponce de Leon of the Philippine Association of Social Workers, Inc., coordinated by Nancy Pareno, and hosted by Dr. Girlie Amarillo.  While the forum highlighted the theme, “Economic and Social Crises: The Social Work Response,” I chose to speak on “Socio-economic problems, Social development solutions.

Social and economic problems

Eva Ponce de Leon reminded the social workers that their task is “to promote equality and equity, enable people to living life sustainably, build participation, facilitate caring communities, and respect diversity by connecting people.”  In short, deal with “the social and economic” problems that are inseparable.  She said, “Kung saan ang isa [social] nandun din ang isa {economic].”  She echoed what Rosabeth Kanter observed 15 years ago In Harvard Business Review (1999) who said that “social problems are economic problems.”  That early, she challenged business to do corporate social innovation, not just philanthropic CSR.

At the forum, I mentioned that the trend in business is to move from philanthropic CSR to sustainable corporate social initiatives (CSI) which empower the beneficiaries through community-based programs.  I named three enterprises that interpreted “charity” and “poverty” in the light of social responsibility and Catholic social teachings:  Kabayan Bank in Batangas, San Dionisio Credit Cooperative Inc. (SDCCUI) in Paranaque, and Mother Laura Gertrude Seland Foundation, Inc. (MLGSFI) in Bulacan and Cavite.

Kabayan Bangko

I shared with the social workers the concept of economy of communion as practiced by Kabayan Bangko.  I first encountered this new economics from a DLSU MBA strategic management paper and at the Catholic Social Teachings conference held at De La Salle University on February 20, 2014.  Tess Ganzon of Kabayan Bangko explained the practice of economy of communion.

She said, “Beyond the personal transformation of the entrepreneur, in the economy of communion, the enterprise itself discovers it has a vocation as well – of serving as laboratory where from its life and experiences the theory of EOC is further developed.”   She further stated that Economy of Communion is based on the culture of giving; it is an antidote to poverty based on the principle of abundance in Luke 6: 36: “Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down and shaken together, running over, will be put on your lap.”

Kabayan Bayan business prosperity and abundance is proven by the fact that today it has P1 Billion in resources with 300 employees in 18 branches in Batangas.

San Dionisio Cooperative

At the PWU forum, Director Felipe Perida, Jr. gave a briefing on the success of SDCCUI.  The cooperative was organized on July 28, 1961 by the twenty eight (28) founding members with P 380.00 as starting capital. They were mentored by Fr. Gaston Duchesneau with the help of St. Andrew Asst. Parish Priest, Fr. Francis Wittizelae.

He said that the success of SDCCUI can be traced to one word: Values.  Values drive their growth performance by: 1. Adhering to the philosophy and principles of cooperativism, 2. Transparent conduct of officers and management, 3. Practicing the spirit of volunteerism, and 4.  Doing boittom-up program engagements.

After five decades of operation, the SDCCUI has 16,000 members with a total asset of P1.2 billion. It provides BEEF (business, employment, education and food) opportunities among its members. Its housing projects include the Mother of Perpetual Help Village in La Huerta, Coop Village in Sucat, and Teoville in BF Sucat.

Mother Laura Gertrude Seland Foundation, Inc.

Amidst tears and laughter, Carmelita Bagariz, community leader of MLGSFI, narrated the struggle of the poor housewives. As a leader her indomitable spirit and physical energy must have been translated into doing a viral campaign for housewives to use their once idle to do basahan production among 15 families in Bulacan.

According to social worker Alice Molina, Beth Melmida other community leaders MLGSFI in Bulihan, Silang, Cavite also organized some 30 families to likewise do basahan production.  The Bulacan and Cavite households over a period of three years sold P6 million of basahan.

To the consternation of the social workers and community leaders of MLGSFI the Bureau of Internal Revenue is slapping them with business tax.  Bagariz is studying the option to create a corporation, so that a separate business institution can then donate the profit to the foundation beneficiaries. Felipe Perida, Jr. of SDCCUI suggested that they establish a cooperative, as proven by their more than four decades of financial stability.

DSWD Tatsulo

Looming in the shadow of doubt and disappointment over Philippine governance, the forum featured the NCR DSWD management of the Tatsulo approach to poverty alleviation presented by Team Joshua Barrameda, Ronon Mata, Marie Anne Malquerido, Jane Rioveros and Amado G. Suarez.

It was a relief to listen to them explain in detail the DSWD’s three core poverty-reduction programs — the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS) and the Self Employment Assistance-Kaunlaran (SEA-K) sustainable livelihood.

The team was able to answer the bias of the audience against the effort of DSWD and in general against the government in the delivery of social services.  The bias was due to a lack of public information on the what and the how of the Tatsulo implementation at the national, regional, municipal and barangay level.  What is not known is that the DSWD poverty alleviation framework specificities linkages with civic, religious, NGO and business sectors.  On the part of DSWD it seeks out cooperation and coordination the other sectors but we wonder why the response from these is very negligible.


The celebration of International Social Work Day brought together the business, civil society, and government sectors to discuss their respective programs for the poor. The DSWD team mentioned the need for synergizing with civil society and business.  Kabayan Bangko, SCCUI and MLGSFI attest to the power of the Catholic social teachings that drive small business enterprises to practice non-traditional economic principle.  In the process, Weberian bureaucracy and Newtonian governance ought to change some of the regulatory rules in dealing with these micro social enterprises.

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