Ilocos Norte’s SME Office distributes relief to help store owners

LAOAG CITY — In response to severe impacts of COVID-19 pandemic to the local economy, the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte, through the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Office, begins the distribution of COVID-19 recovery assistance for distressed sari-sari store owners yesterday, June 25.

Php 2,000.00 worth of KADIWA Express merchandise was provided to 72 recipients, out of 1,600 small and micro store owners, to restart their enterprises.

“Php 2,000.00 ang parang buying credit nila [beneficiaries]. Sila ang pipili ng produkto sa KADIWA goods na 10% cheaper than the prevailing market price. Kung gusto nila, pwede pa silang bumili ng additional stock using their pocket money,” Governor Matthew Marcos Manotoc explained.

“Ang initial list namin ay 1,600 sari-sari store owners. Ang registered daw sa DTI ay lumobo sa 8,000 kaya fina-finalize pa ang [number of] recipients but we are happy with the set-up. Sa ibang lugar naman dito sa probinsiya, ang SME ang pupunta sa kanila para hindi na sila bumiyahe dito,” he continued.

Also, Gov. Marcos Manotoc shared that the Provincial Economic Group is brainstorming for alternative ways to serve all qualified sari-sari store owners, citing a possible application for a zero percent interest loan in Metro Manila or request for donations from bigger companies.

As of now, the Provincial Government has already received flour and canned goods from Ramon S. Ang of San Miguel Corporation to be distributed to local bakeries.

Moreover, Ms. Josephine Bagaoisan has been manning a sari-sari store for 13 years in Brgy. Casilian, Bacarra. According to her, the strict quarantine measures made it difficult for her to get supplies because of multiple checkpoints.

“Manipud idi adda COVID-19, awan unay gumatgatangen ta naka-lockdown-tayo. Isu ti gapu na a bassit ti pamastrekanmi.”

[Since COVID-19 lockdown, fewer customers are buying in our sari-sari store. That is why our business marked low sales.]

“Dakami nga adda ti tiangina kayatmi met a gumatang iti nalaklaka. Isu a dakkel a pagyamananmi ta maikkankami ti sangkabassit a tulong aggapo ti Govierno Provinsial,” Ms. Bagaoisan ended.

[To us sari-sari store owners, we prefer to purchase lower-priced supplies. We are truly grateful for this recovery assistance from the Provincial Government.]

With the discontinuance of KADIWA Express COVID-19 special, the full utilization of sari-sari stores is another way to ensure the delivery of essential goods while reducing the movement of people within communities. ●