The legend of CEO Emilio Dulnuan (Second of three parts)

By Estanislao Albano Jr.

“ The long and short of it was since its infancy, the cooperative had been Emilio’s passion and obsession. He stood by the cooperative through thick and thin so that he could now look back with satisfaction at the fruits of his labors and sacrifices..”

He was in Manila taking the board for public accountants in November of that year which he eventually flunked when he received a telegram from his uncle telling him to come home as an association is being organized and he was needed to man it. He heeded his uncle and that was how he became the cashier, bookkeeper and storekeeper rolled into one of the farm input store of the newly organized Tabuk Farmers Inputs Loan Association (TAFILA). The capital of the store came from the seed money of P150,000.00 from the AAFLI. The store was located on the ground floor of the defunct John Rauch Memorial Hospital beside the UCCP church in Magsaysay, Tabuk.
Crisis hit the TAFILA right away because in 1988 and in accordance with the contract, the AAFLI stopped the subsidy for his and night guard Benny Wayet’s salaries. Because of that, Wayet was laid off and so the store became a one-man operation as he also took over the guarding of the stocks at night.
“In 1988 and 1989, the Board was inactive. I had nowhere to get my salary but I decided to work as volunteer as I could not abandon what has been started. Since I had no salary to speak of starting in January 1989 to support myself and give my contribution towards the college education of two of my younger brothers, I decided to advance some amount from the income of the store and likewise sidelined as agent for the Platinum Plans, a pre-need education company,” Emilio recalled.
In 1989, Emilio registered the association as a cooperative with the Bureau of Cooperative Development under the Department of Agriculture with the registration effected on January 25,1990. During the General Assembly (GA) of that year, he was appointed as manager. The GA hired Beatriz Perez as clerk, turned the amount Emilio advanced from the store as his salary during the given period and gave him a regular pay of P2,000.00 a month. Later that year, the Board also engaged the services of erstwhile Treasurer Luz Orprecio as Loan Officer and Jovita Dalayon as Storekeeper.
Because of the shortage of funds for their credit operation which they started when they became a cooperative, the Board approved his recommendation to borrow from the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP). Unfortunately, they were unable to pay on the due date and had to extend for three months because the earthquake which took place on July 16,1990 stopped the delivery of fertilizers resulting to very low collections from members. Emilio recalls that LBP management scolded him because TAFAMULCO was the only borrower which failed to pay its loan on time. But since that time on until the cooperative stopped borrowing from the LBP in 2000, none of their loans became overdue.
Emilio counts among his depressing experiences as a manager his having been scolded for that delayed loan repayment in 1990. Another was the time when they had a row with the National Food Authority (NFA) over a P78,000.00 incentives under the Institutionalized Procurement Program of the agency. The NFA refused to release the incentive claiming that TAFAMULCO had exceeded its delivery ceiling. There was that time when a district officer of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) assessed the cooperative a hefty P1.7M tax due threatening to sue and saying that if found liable, he could go to jail. He insisted that cooperatives are tax exempt and with the support of then Legal Counsel Simplicio Caguay, he stood his ground until the BIR official stopped bothering them. Emilio surmised that it was an extortion operandi. And yes another low point in his career was when a director demanded that he resign if he could not cope with the Board’s wishes. That happened 1999 when he recommended the closure of the outpatient clinic of the cooperative because it was losing heavily.
The long and short of it was since its infancy, the cooperative had been Emilio’s passion and obsession. He stood by the cooperative through thick and thin so that he could now look back with satisfaction at the fruits of his labors and sacrifices.
It’s no mean feat that as of 2013, of the then 23,677 cooperatives in the country, the TAFAMULCO was ranked 233rd asset-wise. With its asset reaching P202M this year, it is possible that it has climbed up the standings. Emilio is not claiming credit for the success of the cooperative far from it but is content with the knowledge that during the crucial times of its life specially during its infancy, he was there to contribute what he could.
Emilio says that he feels deep in his heart that his labors in the near three decades was all worth it when he hears some cooperative members say that they would still be hard up financially had it not been for the loans made available by the TAFAMULCO which helped them improve their economic conditions.
Pressed for more comments along this line, the usually reticent Emilio said: “I went to Malacanang and received from President Ramos the “Best Coop Citizen” award from the Land Bank of the Philippines. I have seen many places in the Philippines and have been to Vietnam, Beijing, China and Cambodia all because of my involvement in cooperatives. I enjoy my work even if the pay is low. Without my wife’s business, I may have also tried going abroad as I also have obligations to my family.”
A major part of that obligation is the education of their two children: Friedrich and Caroline. Friedrich had just graduated with the degree of BS Math from the Cagayan State University in 2014 and Caroline is fourth year in BS Psychology also at the CSU.
But wait a minute. Who is the wife of Emilio? It’s Jovita Dalayon, the former Storekeeper of the TAFAMULCO. They got married in April 1991 less than a year after she became an employee of the cooperative. Jovita resigned right after their marriage and had established a dry goods store at the Tabuk Public Market. In a way, Jovita is one of Emilio’s “rewards” for working for TAFAMULCO. **(To be continued)

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