HIGHLIGHTS

  • SILVINO ENCARNACION, a tailor by trade who then was Barrio Lieutenant, and his wife, ROSARIO, a public elementary school teacher, accepted the challenge, gradually enlisting responsive neighbors.
  • Starting in May 1960 with 17 members and 73 pesos in cash deposits, the Bantug Community Cooperative Credit Union now has 181 members and P26,447.52 in assets.
  • SILVINO and ROSARIO ENCARNACION are proving that regardless of how modest an individual’s circumstance and discouraging the condition of his community, these can be altered.
  • The Board of Trustees recognizes “their wise management of a credit cooperative that soundly improves life in their low-income barrio, without incurring bad debts.”

 CITATION

Progress in any rural community begins with the people themselves mastering the art of saving their modest funds and using them productively. This is true in Asia today as it was in Germany 104 years ago when, after failing to generate results with charity, Frederick Wilhelm Raiffeisen founded the first credit union among the depressed and starving of Heddesdorf. Like the 28 English pioneers who started the Rochdale consumers union, these cooperatives appealed to elemental human nature: linking self-interest to community betterment. As cooperatives have grown, so has economic democracy.

Despite this promise the Philippines, like many Asian lands, is littered with the wrecks of mismanaged cooperatives that spawned popular disillusionment. It was against this handicap that Angel Mandac of the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement labored when he first came to Barrio Bantug in 1960 to arouse interest in a credit union. SILVINO ENCARNACION, a tailor by trade who then was Barrio Lieutenant, and his wife, ROSARIO, a public elementary school teacher, accepted the challenge, gradually enlisting responsive neighbors.

Starting in May 1960 with 17 members and 73 pesos in cash deposits, the Bantug Community Cooperative Credit Union now has 181 members and P26,447.52 in assets. Neither the largest nor the wealthiest among credit unions in the Philippines, it is distinguished by its integrity and creativity. Most consequential are the changes members are prompting in their barrio of some 4,000 inhabitants. From chronic habits of dependence and borrowing from moneylenders to pay for illness, baptisms, rice until the next harvest and even gambling debts, Bantug is progressing as residents learn to save and plan ahead. With capital from their own “bank,” members of the credit union finance small businesses, improve their houses, pay tuition for children attending college and invest in better seeds and fertilizer. All of this was made possible by careful management of cooperative funds and emphasis upon productive loans based on the borrower’s character.

SILVINO and ROSARIO ENCARNACION are proving that regardless of how modest an individual’s circumstance and discouraging the condition of his community, these can be altered. With associates in the Bantug credit union they are showing that barrio folk can be encouraged to learn new habits releasing them from old limitations to build the decent life all seek.

In electing SILVINO and ROSARIO ENCARNACION, treasurer-manager and chairman of the credit committee, respectively, of Barrio Bantug Community Cooperative Credit Union, Munoz, Nueva Ecija, to receive the 1968 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership, the Board of Trustees recognizes their wise management of a credit cooperative that soundly improves life in their low-income barrio, without incurring bad debts.

 RESPONSE

We, Filipinos, have a saying that he who fails to look back where he came from cannot reach his destination. So, to reach this destination, we shall look back and give our endless thanks, first to our late Ramon Magsaysay who left us beautiful and undying ideals; second, to the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement and Mr. Angel Mandac, who patiently taught us careful bookkeeping; third, to our townmates who gave us complete faith and entrusted to us their savings; and above all, to God who enlightened our minds that we may perform our given task without blemish.

Because of these ideals we have received an honor which, even in our dreams, we did not think we would be worthy of. So permit me to relate an incident in my life.

In October of 1963 I became seriously ill and everybody thought I would not live. But nothing is impossible if so willed by God; that is why I am here before you, hale and hearty. When I recovered, I asked myself the following questions:

1. Why did I survive that serious illness?

2. What is God’s plan for my life?

3. Do I have a duty I have not yet accomplished?

My long period of waiting found its answer tonight. It is none other than the Award which my husband and I have received. This Award has a small voice which whispers that we have a duty and a responsibility to our country and that we should live to serve our fellowmen.

May I convey to the four corners of our country at this moment that we shall serve not only in Barrio Bantug, Mu?oz, Nueva Ecija, but in the whole Philippines wherever the need may arise in keeping with the ideals of our late President Ramon Magsaysay. With the PRRM, our townmates and all who uphold the high principles of our beloved Ramon Magsaysay, we want to share the honor we received.

 BIOGRAPHY

Silvino and ROSARIO ENCARNACION knew each other from childhood. SILVINO was born on February 17, 1913 in Poblacion Munoz, in the province of Nueva Ecija, Luzon, the Philippines, and ROSARIO three years his senior, on January 15, 1910 in the nearby town of Aliaga.

Although SILVINO’s father had sufficient education to become a grade school teacher, he left teaching and, after working as a timekeeper for a government road project, applied for 11 acres-of public land to farm in Barrio Bantug. Like so many other farmers, he soon had to mortgage his land in order to provide for his family and to send his children to school. He died when SILVINO, his fourth child, was three years old.

SILVINO completed only four years of Bantug Elementary School before he had to go to work to help his mother support her six children. However his curiosity and determination had been awakened, and with the help of an American correspondence school course he taught himself to be a tailor. “It was a business that needed little capital,” he recalls, and “service to people was important.”

(For the complete biography, please email biographies@rmaf.org.ph)