Bonifacio Aga of Brgy. 16, San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte sustains his family needs with his profit from his buy-and-sell business which, he admitted, would not have been possible without the assistance from the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN).
Believing that scrap materials are “convertible to cash,” Aga used to buy recyclable materials such as bottles, metals, steels, plastics, among others from households and deliver them to a junkshop after being segregated and cleaned.
He shared that he had to endure the scorching heat of the sun everyday just to earn money for his wife and three children.
When their expenses began to increase as his daughter entered college, Aga knew he had to exert more effort to earn money.
He then availed of the Self-Employment Assistance Program (SEAP) through the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) with hopes to grow his business and earn profit.
SEAP offers loan assistance to small business entrepreneurs with zero interest and collateral. The amount is payable within a year.
Through the loan amounting to P5,000, his buy-and-sell business grew and he eventually became a wholesaler. At present, he sells an average 50 sacks of scraps compared to mere 10 before availing of the loan assistance.
Aga was cited in Governor Imee Marcos’ State of the Province Address (SOPA) 2015 as one of the Ilocanos whose lives have felt remarkable progress in the past few years.
“Nakikita ko si Manong Bonifacio Aga ng San Nicolas, naghahatid ng bote sa Hypermart. Dati tingi-tingi lang kumuha ng bote sa bahay-bahay ang kinikita. Umutang sa probinsya para maging wholesaler. Ngayon, nakakabenta ng higit na dalawang daang bote kada linggo,” Gov. Marcos proudly said.
Aga now owns a motor vehicle which “makes his job lighter” compared to pedaling his pedicab a few years ago.
Before engaging into the scrap business, Aga used to be a tricycle driver until he realized that his income cannot support his family’s needs.
SEAP is part of the PGIN’s goal to alleviate poverty in the province by providing income-generating opportunities to disadvantaged families.
In her SOPA 2015, Governor Marcos proudly announced that “poverty [in Ilocos Norte] has now fallen to a record of 8.4%” from 28% in 2010.”
Since 2013, Ilocos Norte has been named by the National Statistical Coordination Board as one of the least poor provinces in the country.—(Jennifer T. Pambid, PGIN-CMO)