The BPWDCC is Palawan's first PWD cooperative.

Coral Bay Nickel Corporation (CBNC) has provided P100,000 in seed money to the cooperative of persons with disabilities (PWD) in Bataraza as assistance in starting their own business after obtaining their certificate from the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA).

Laurence Amores, CBNC’s Community Relations Section Head, said that the company aims to strengthen and empower the PWD sector in the town, using resources provided by the Information, Education, and Communication fund.

“We want to strengthen and empower them. That is why we have been supporting them for many years now. In the past, we’ve provided them with assistive devices and supported them with various trainings. But this one (cooperative), this is something more sustainable. I just hope that this business will do well, for the benefit of the members,” Amores said.

The PWD is one of the sectors that participates in the CBNC’s yearly IEC and consultation planning.

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The BPWDCC is Palawan’s first PWD cooperative.

Isagani Valerio, Bataraza Persons with Disability Consumers Cooperative (BPWDCC) chair, said that the cooperative received the certificate of registration from CDA in March 2021 and will open the cooperative store once it is registered under the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

“Once we get our BIR registration, we will right away open the store. Our members have been waiting for this project to start already. And we are so happy that CBNC made this possible for us,” Valerio said.

The BPWDCC is Palawan’s first PWD cooperative, and Valerio hopes to expand the cooperative to each barangay in Bataraza as satellite cooperatives if the operation is successful in the following two to three years.

The cooperative store was also conceptualized to provide low-cost goods for sale to the PWD members and the elderly. The establishment of a cooperative for PWD federation is in cooperation with CDA, the Municipal Cooperative Development Office (MCDO) of Bataraza, and CBNC.

Valerio said that the assistance and support extended by CBNC also boosted their morale to establish the first PWD-run cooperative in the province. Aside from this, Valerio shared that CBNC also provided assisted devices such as canes, walkers, and wheelchairs amounting to P100,000.

This also includes ICT equipment to enhance the online registration of PWDs in the municipality of Bataraza which is mandatory for them to be registered with PhilHealth.

“Isa rin sa nagbibigay sa amin ng lakas ng loob ay itong private sector na hiningian namin ng kaunting tulong, financially, technically, and sa pag-boost ng morale namin. Patungkol sa assisted device needs namin ay nakatulong sila katulad ng walker, cane. Kasama na rin ang wi-fi na ginagamit sa ngayon para sa online registration sa Department of Health na mandatory,” he said.

CBNC started to support the sector during the formation of the cooperative. It also provided several projects, such as the ongoing radio program of the PWD Bataraza Federation, which aims to educate and inform the members and the public about the rights and privileges of the PWDs.

Valerio said that some of their members are still being bullied and still facing discrimination. “Through our radio program, which is being aired in Bandera, we hope to minimize this problem,” Valerio said.

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