He didn’t finish school. He was a scrap collector, but was able to establish a family business. He even bagged the Best SETUP (Small Enterprises Technology Upgrading Program) Adoptor award from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
Demetrio Perez, 53, said he only reached elementary and used to collect bottles and iron for a living.
“There were only a few people who were doing that kind of job before because they were shy,” he said.
With the help of his wife, Perez was earning P300-P500 a day from collecting scraps. After three years, the couple was able to rent space for P1,500 a month, which they used to store the junks from other collectors.
My wife looked after the space while I was the one going around with a pushcart to collect junk,” he uttered.
After three years and with a small commercial space, he was the one buying scraps and junk, and achieved enough volume to sell to his regular buyers.
The couple was earning P2,000-P3,000 a day from their junk business.
He then acquired a machine, thinking that he would earn more from fabricating something from the metal junk he collected.
So in 1990, he started the DP Fabrication and Machineries in Davao Del Sur with P15,000 as initial investment. The business currently produces farm equipment such as corn mill, rice mill, among others.
Perez decided to stop his junk shop business in 2012 to focus on fabricating machineries.
When asked if he was never shy of collecting scraps, Perez emphasized, “I had to work hard, and collecting scraps was nothing to be ashamed toward our Lord and to people. It was only I who could help myself and my family, so I worked hard.”
“I’ve learned where to get the materials, what designs to make,” he added, referring to the fabrication business he set up.
It was also in 2012 when he learned about DOST’s SETUP, which is a nationwide program that encourages and assists micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in adopting technological innovations to improve their products and operations.
Through SETUP, the DOST helps improve MSMEs’ productivity and competitiveness, by providing them a loan payable in three years.
“I didn’t accept the DOST’s assistance at first, because I was afraid to be in debt,” Perez said.
Encouraged to adopt technologies
“Luckily, in 2014, the DOST still encouraged me to try the program,” he added, emphasizing he got a P750,000 loan from the DOST. He also availed of SETUP 2 this year and received almost P3 million in loan from the agency.
Just recently, the DOST recognized the country’s best SETUP adoptors in an awarding ceremony, and DP Fabrication and Machineries was announced as the national winner, and won P100,000 in cash prize. The business also received P30,000 for landing in the top five finalists.
“I never dreamed of receiving an award from a government agency,” Perez said upon receiving the award.
He noted that not being able to finish school didn’t become a hindrance for him to persevere and succeed.
What does it take to be the best SETUP adoptor?
It was trust in God, he emphasized. “With God’s grace, we were able to do what we wanted in our business,” he said.
According to Perez, it’s also good to share some of his blessings with the community. “I didn’t celebrate my birthday at home last June 30. I bought almost 500 bags and school supplies and gave these in remote areas,” he said. Perez also gave some equipment to those living in the mountains.
Perez said he will give 10 percent of his winnings to their church (United Pentecostal Church) and the remaining will be for his family that is now enjoying a better life because of the progress he achieved with DOST’s assistance.