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Message from Mr. Robby Tulus, ICA Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific (1998)

June, 1998
(Source: ICA in Asia and the Pacific -Annual Report 1997, pp. 2)

Message from Mr. Robby Tulus, ICA Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific
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The foregoing messages of ICA Vice President Yang Deshou, and ICA Regional Assembly Chair Prof. Aziz, need no further elaboration. Both have described ICA's policy and development issues in greater depth than breadth. Illustrative segments that follow in this more concise Annual Report are intended to cover the breadth of activities and events that will show ICA ROAP's keen efforts to serve its members better. We have also elicited news and views from members to be included in this report.

To add just briefly, a question worth asking is: What have we learned from the Asian Economic Crisis that has overwhelmed discussions all over the world these days? The Co-operative Think Tank Consortium (CTTC), for example, observed that the notion of state and the marketplace deserve careful examination.

There are lessons to be learned from the current crisis that virtuous ideas such as democracy, autonomy, good governance, transparency, and popular participation, if remained unchecked, will cause great harm for the entire nation. The relentless quest for profit, risk taking, rent seeking, quick fixes have, in no uncertain terms, contributed largely to the economic crisis.

The negative factors listed above are exactly the ones co-operatives were asked to challenge and avoid when founders of member-driven co-operatives started their pioneering work. Why? Because these negative factors go against the co-operatives' very reason for being : to promote the social and economic self-reliance of members by way of democratic governance.

Successful co-operatives combine growth with equity.  Government-sponsored co-operatives that cast-off the principle of autonomy and independence will almost certainly languish.

It strikes as a happy note to know that while co-operatives are not immune to the onslaught of the current crisis, most have been able to withstand the pressures. Good co-operatives build equity during good times, hence a crisis can be weathered.  We must therefore continue to become the conscience of best business practices because co-operatives do business with a heart.

Our newly elected ICA President, Mr. Roberto Rodrigues, repeatedly said that specialization of, and integration among, co-operative sectors are important. He also emphasized the need to communicate more to the outside world and international agencies that co-operatives are indeed doing better than many of their competitors.

These statements offer hope for us in 1998 to work more closely with members to realize our strength and to add more value to it. With my sincere wishes for a better 1998!