Department of Science and Technology (DOST) III Regional Director Dr. Victor B. Mariano awarded to the local government unit (LGU) of Orion, Bataan a cheque amounting to P719,000 during the last quarter of 2015 to help improve the LGU’s disaster risk reduction and management practices.

The said funds will be used for the fabrication of two units of DOST-designed fiberglass rescue boats for rescue operations in flooded areas and/or distribution of relief goods.

The fiberglass boats are more cost efficient, have an outboard motor light enough to be paddle driven, and can accommodate 8 to 12 persons. A rubber boat of about the same size can only accommodate 6 to 10 persons.

Also, it can accommodate animals and home appliances, has compartments for rescue operations equipment and can go through narrow roads without being worn out.

Orion is situated along the Manila Bay coastline in the East and is one of the most flood-prone municipalities in the province. About 13 barangays with a total population of 27,000, many of whom are marginalized, are susceptible to flooding.

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.

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.

With the advent of the fiberglass technology, Orion Mayor Antonio L. Raymundo Jr. also explores the possibility of converting into fiberglass the traditional wooden fishing boats in the town which may help lessen the number of trees being logged.

Also present during the awarding ceremony were DOST Assistant Regional Director for Technical Operations Wilfredo F. Sibal, DOST-Bataan staff, SUGPO members and some of the municipal councilors.

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