Broom making has been a cottage industry of Barangay Paknaan in Mandaue City, Cebu for generations and the primary source of livelihood for its highly skilled residents. The silhig lanot, as it is called locally, are made from buri palm fiber, making them durable and of top quality.
To build a sustainable community of broom makers, they adopted the “cooperativism” mindset, which paved the way for the Paknaanon Multipurpose Cooperative (PAMULCO) in June 2005. This, however, did not result in good returns and the coop found itself in financial and organizational crisis.
When new leadership took over in 2010, PAMULCO had only 31 members and Php26,000 capital left. They did not lose heart but moved to turn things around and save their livelihood.
Partnering with Aboitiz Foundation
Because of their very minimal capital and unstable operations, cooperatives like PAMULCO have almost no access to credit sources while commercial lenders’ requirements are near impossible for small organizations to produce.
The solution came when Aboitiz Foundation entered the picture. Through its Enterprise Development program, PAMULCO received its first loan of Php150,000, which went to improving operations and profitability and gaining financial stability.
As the business continued to grow and expand, so did the loan amounts entrusted to them by the Foundation—as much as Php3 million at zero collateral—allowing them to diversify and put up a consumer store and even lending services.
PAMULCO has also increased knowledge and skills of its members through various capability building trainings from the Cooperative Development Authority. They have been able to develop effective coop management policies in addition to learning livelihood and administrative knowhow. Continuous learning and improvement ensures the continuous success of their cooperative and has led to employment or small businesses for some members.
Continuing success is being true to their vision
Today, PAMULCO has 550 active members who are part of growing their business and total assets at Php11 million, which they intend to grow to Php15 million by the end of this year. They are able to employ more people to increase production and revenue.
“The secret to our continuous success is by being true to our vision: PAMULCO, a provider of prime commodities, instilling livelihood programs to its members and reliable source of low-cost loans,” affirmed the coop’s chairman, Virgilio M. Aniel.
In all this, it can be concluded that the famous silhig the Paknaanons make and PAMULCO’s success story are both made of very strong fiber: native buri palm for one and tenacious cooperativism for the other.