ORION, Bataan – Department of Science and Technology (DOST) III Regional Director Dr. Victor B. Mariano awarded to the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Orion a check amounting to Php 719,000 last October 1 for an approved Grant-in-Aid (GIA) project of the agency that will improve the LGU’s disaster risk reduction and management practices.
Said project funds will be used for the fabrication of two units of DOST-designed fiberglass rescue boats that the LGU may use during rescue operations in flooded areas and/or distribution of relief goods.
The fiberglass rescue boat technology
According to DOST Region IV-A which has a similar project, these fiberglass rescue boats have more advantages than the rubber boat. It has lower price, cheaper maintenance, outboard motor is light enough to be paddle driven and bigger capacity in terms of number of persons that can be accommodated.
The bigger size of fiberglass rescue boat has 8 to 12 person capacity unlike a rubber boat of about the same size which has 6 to 10 person capacity only. Also, it can accommodate animals and home appliances, has compartments for rescue operations equipment and can go through narrow roads without being worn-out.
The technology’s impact
Orion needs the said technology because the town, being situated along the Manila Bay coastline in the East, is one of most flood prone municipalities in the province according to Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) especially during the southwest monsoon season or “Habagat”. There are vulnerable areas to flooding as a consequence of their location in the lowland areas along the lower reaches of Manila Bay.
It was also cited in the Geohazard Assessment Report of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau of DENR that Orion has seven barangays which are low to moderately susceptible to flooding, three barangays which are low susceptible but with low-lying areas that are moderately to high susceptible, one moderately susceptible barangay, and two moderate to high susceptible.
These 13 barangays have total population of about 27,000 and there are areas which are densely populated with marginalized and vulnerable people. Orion Mayor Antonio L. Raymundo Jr, who received the check, expressed his gratitude to DOST for choosing his town as the project beneficiary because it will help them improve their disaster mitigation and response, especially in saving the lives of his fellowmen during calamities. “Nagpapasalamat kami sa DOST at kami ang napili [beneficiary] sa proyektong ito,” shared Mayor Raymundo.
The two units of fiberglass rescue boat will be fabricated by the Samahan at Ugnayan ng Pangisdaan sa Orion (SUGPO), a municipal-wide association of village level fishers organizations in Orion. They will be trained by DOST experts on fiberglass rescue boat production as another component of the project.
With the advent of the fiberglass technology, Mayor Raymundo also explores the possibility of converting into fiberglass the traditional wooden fishing boats in the town. “Same method lang din ang pagggawa nyan (fiberglass fishing vessels). Molde lang ang mag-iiba,” Dr. Mariano supported.
SUGPO may also use the fiberglass rescue boats in sea patrolling and management of 12.5 hectares of mangrove areas which help in preventing coastal erosion and serve as breeding and nursery grounds for a number of marine organisms.
Also present during the awarding ceremony were DOST Assistant Regional Director for Technical Operations Wilfredo F. Sibal, DOST-Bataan staff, SUGPO members and some municipal councilors.
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