Democratic, socialist, economist
An economist, Dr.Virginia A. Teodosio’s major missions is to make goods available for most people at cheaper costs.
She founded the housing cooperative for faculty members at the University of the Philippines precisely for this .
“Our houses are beautiful. If a large real estate developer built these, they could have cost P2 million. But it’s only P500,000 with us, a big difference.”
Her passion is to encourage more people in what she calls a cooperative “movement” having once been Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) administrator from 2000 to 2005.
If only there are more cooperatives in the country, then profits can be shared by more people.
“Imagine all these Filipinos shopping at SM malls. If there’s a cooperative, then we’ll get rebates on our purchases. The more we patronize, the more we get money. But not here—the surplus, the profit goes to more malls of Henry Sy. The profit is unimaginable.”
While having spent her doctorate on political economy at the University of Sydney, her mind is really into the grassroots setting.
Numerous focused group discussions (FGDs), a research methodology, involving 99 cooperative leader management members under a 2006-2007 project funded by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) enabled her to further immerse herself in rural community problems.
The work on cooperatives as means to poverty reduction is really what she came back to the Philippines for.
“I studied political economy abroad, but when I was there I thought, ‘What would I do here?’ Life is short. That’s why I had to come home to serve because I learned a lot from my Oxford and Cambridge professors.”
The truth is she really wonders if theories in Economics, which she took as an undergraduate course, do have applications in real life.
“I can’t understand, (academic theories in) Economics seem to be out of context,” she said. “We listen to graduates abroad of say Princeton who do not really have experience working with the masses.”
Her idea on her work on cooperatives is to involve in an authentic economic reform people who may have been ignored in the society like insurgents. Potential industrial crops that insurgent can plant are jatropha and malunggay.
A rebel group cooperative linked with the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) that she’s advising is now hoping to run a major food trading center in the country in order to help benefit the really poor.
Another group she’s working with are indigenous tribes.
“There’s a (P5 billion) jatropha project in Palawan that has been signed with tribes (as beneficiaries).
Here are other notes.
Put up a Music Academy. I want children to be exposed to music. I want to choose areas where the children are not in school. It will give jobs to their parents, and children will be into distance learning.
Role as a funder:
I’m coming from a (perspective) on social capital. I have no money, but the trust, the respect, and the relationships (through which) I bring the capital (are what’s important).
We need to partner with the masses (in democratic socialism). The Philippines is an emerging democratic socialist. If we partner with rebels in Mindanao, they will not bomb the trains. The true democracy is developed with the masses through cooperatives. Read about the history of egalitarian societies. (Progressive countries like) Switzerland, Norway, Denmark (worked in this premise of upholding) welfare of the community (through cooperatives). The culture of democracy can be sustained through the cooperative movement. (This jibes with charter change or) a decentralized (federalist government.)