Tondo, MANILA – During the COVID Crisis, the Tondo Foreshore Market Vendors Development Cooperative (TOMVEDCO), which operates in one of the poorest and densely populated areas in Metro Manila, distributed rice & food packs, provided flu and pneumonia vaccination, and fed 210 local kids nutritious meals under the Hunger Warrior Project of NATCCO.
And at the height of the Pandemic TOMVEDCO made another bold move. On September 18 TOMVEDCO launched its KAYA ATM from NATCCO. The ATM is located at the market place on the ground floor of its main office.
The KAYA ATM is a breakthrough for TOMVEDCO. General Manager Ambo Mangahas says: “Many people were surprised that a small cooperative like TOMVEDCO could even put up an ATM. And we are the only one in the community. The ATM has greatly boosted the image of the co-op in the community!”
Some residents are awed that TOMVEDCO – a small co-op – can actually operate an ATM . . . in an area where no banks would dare put up one!
Nakilala and TOMVEDCO. Sa buong Tondo, kami lang ang coop na may ATM at dumadami ang membership. (TOMVEDCO is getting known. In Tondo, we are the only co-op with an ATM and membership is increasing!)
TOMVEDCO’s 700 members and 3,000 associate members used to have to ride a pedicab to the Divisoria district to transact at a bank ATM. That meant they had to spend at least P40.
“Pero ngayon, hindi sila nahihirapan at hindi sila lumalayo at namamasahe,” (These days, they just walk to the co-op) says Mangahas.
The KAYA ATM has resulted in a notable increase in foot traffic in the market. Residents now withdraw money through the ATM, and consequently do their grocery in the marketplace of TOMVEDCO, which has resulted in the third payback: increased sales for the stalls.
Mangahas reports: “Lumago ang negosyo ng co-op at ng mga nagtitinda. Ngayon, ang mga tao nag-withdraw sa ATM at sa talipapa na rin namimili ng gulay, karne prutas at iba pa.” (Business has grown because people now withdraw money from our ATM at the marketplace, and make their purchases also at the marketplace.)
“Yung ilalim ng aming building, ginawang palengke at lalong dumami ang tao/traffic,” he adds. (The ground floor serves as a market. There is more people traffic!). There are now 30 stalls rented out to merchants.
The jump in business activity “has boosted the value of the property”, says Ambo.
The KAYA ATM is also used for the distribution of cash benefits of Pantawid Pamilyang Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries.
TOMVEDCO is also campaigning for members to increase their deposits to ease replenishment requirements.
In the 1970s, market vendors in Tondo sold their goods in a rented market place (called Talipapa). The place was congested, they all got wet when it rained, and the floor was muddy.
But what really put them in dire need were the usurers who squeezed them.
On Valentine’s Day in 1980, the vendors met and a few months later formed the Tondo Foreshore Market Management Service Association Inc, which two years later became the Tondo Foreshore Market Management Service Cooperative.
Initial capital was P5,000.
By 1989, the group had gathered P200,000 to buy the 247 square-meter land on which the “talipapa” stands.
Construction of the building began in 2014, which was inaugurated on Valentine’s Day 2016.