Thirty-five Ilocano small-scale entrepreneurs are beneficiaries of the sustainable livelihood program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) called the Self-Employment Assistance-Kaunlaran (SEA-K) program, with Gov. Imee R. Marcos personally handing P5,000 to each of them last November 13.
According to Felicitas Sales of the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO), the beneficiaries are actually members of the Vegetable Vendors Association of Bangui, Ilocos Norte who have applied and qualified for the loan grant.
Sales added that the PSWDO along with the elected officers of the said association will be responsible for safeguarding the regulation of the loan, including the monthly installment of P416 by each recipient until the end of the loan term agreement which is for 1 year.
“Saan kami nga umutang ti ada interes nan gapu iti daytoy nga impabulod ti gobyerno probinsyal [We will not be borrowing money with interest anymore because of this loan grant from the Provincial Government],” Sarah Jane Calvo of Brgy. San Lorenzo, Bangui, Ilocos Norte said, being one of the recipients. Calvo is a vendor who roams the streets to sell foodstuffs to houses, schools, and offices.
Gov. Marcos immediately approved the SEA-K Program after seeing that it can help Ilocanos who belong to low-income barangays to boost their entrepreneurial capacity and develop their own micro-enterprises, thus the possibility for poverty reduction.
The SEA-K Program in Ilocos Norte was spawned through the 20% Development Fund of PGIN. It focuses on providing non-collateral and interest-free seed capital.—Grazielle Mae A. Sales, PGIN-CMO