February 2, 2004
Interview of the Golden Harvest Christian Ministry International, The Philippines.
This association coordinates 7 popular organizations and 4 homeowners associations in 11 villages. Activities include formation of values, community organization, capital build-up, enterprise development, and spiritual renewal. It follows the principles of the "Bayanihan" economy or solidarity economy in the Philipinnes.
Ben Quiñones

1. What is the main goal of your economic activity?

The 3 M of Bayanihan Program: “Maka-Diyos” (God-fearing); “Masagana” (Abundant); Mapagbigay (Generous).

2. Do you practice AN ALTERNATIVE or ANOTHER economy? If ‘yes’, in what sense does it differ from the dominant.mainstream economy?

The dominant economy is market-driven which leaves many people, especially the poor, to fend for themselves. Without adequate education and training, poor people have lesser opportunities than the middle and upper income classes to get good paying jobs, or to avail of financing facilities from banks to start a business. The dominant economy makes the poor people weak, and therefore encourages mendicant mentality among those who cannot compete in the market economy.

In Bayanihan, we teach people to generate their own capital through savings and to start their own businesses. They learn how to be self-reliant by mobilizing local resources and usingese resources for productive undertakings.

3. What is ‘WEALTH’, according to your own understanding? Is material wealth the ultimate goal you want to reach or a means for something else? What is that ‘something else’?

Values formation is the ultimate goal of our Bayanihan program, not the creation of material wealth. Spiritual transformation is an intangible wealth which gives people a new hope and energy to create financial wealth.

4. What VALUES do you and your comrades practice in your daily life and work? Is it possible, in your opinion, that these values become predominant for the whole of society? How can they be generalized?

The values that we practice in our organization are: savings habit, being a good steward, and not being idle. These values have universal acceptance and can be found among peoples throughout the world, therefore, they can become predominant in a society like the Philippines.

5. What innovations have you developed in the form of organizing property, management and the appropriation of the fruits of labor?

I think I have introduced two innovations: (1) transforming the unemployed (mostly women) into owner-operators of new business enterpries; and (2) developing the potentials of each member of people’s organizations to become a leader.

6. Please enumerate the things you would consider as important when you work in a solidarity (cooperative) network or in a production chain guided by solidarity/cooperation?

Trust and confidence
Love and acceptance
Know how to serve others
Freedom to tell others what you feel

7. Does your activity influence the life of the community? If ‘yes’, how, and in what spheres?

Bingo (a gambling game that caters mainly to low-income people) was eradicated in all the communities I have worked. People were convinced their money would be better place in the savings program of Bayanihan and then invested later on in sound business projects.

8. What is your understanding of “WORK”, based on your experience? What value and meaning does it have in your life?

Work is production with “profit or income plus, plus”. The “plus, plus” is in the form of dignity and respectability. We can only generate income with dignity and respectability if we do not exploit the labor of other people and if we are socially responsible towards our environment and society.

9. What role does WOMAN play in an economic initiative guided by cooperation/solidarity?

Women are active agents of change. They are leaders in the community. They are the doers.

10. How can public policies and the State contribute to the progress of a people’s economy guided by solidarity/ cooperation (bayanihan)?

The government could provide/support training in new technology.

11. Do you believe that a globalization of cooperation and solidarity is possible? If ‘yes’, how could this be realized?

Yes, I think our program can be replicated anywhere in the world if there are organizations that are interested to adopt it. The crucial point is to raise people’s awareness of their potentials to mobilize local resources and to apply these resources to productive endeavours.