A completed fiberglass boat. (Photo from DOST Mimaropa)

The Department of Science and Technology in the Mimaropa Region has reported completing a series of fiberglass boat fabrication training for communities affected by Typhoon Odette.

The department said this effort aims to equip fishermen in affected municipalities with skills for rebuilding their livelihood.

After Typhoon Odette in 2021, a survey by the Provincial Science and Technology Office in Palawan showed the impact on northern Palawan’s fishing communities, with many unable to resume their livelihoods a year later.

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in the region initiated project planning in January 2022 to address these challenges through science and technology interventions.

From October 2023 to January 2024, the DOST said the training sessions were conducted in Roxas, Dumaran, Araceli, Taytay, Cagayancillo, and San Vicente. These sessions aimed to equip Typhoon Odette-affected fishermen with skills to fabricate their own fiberglass boats, a step towards regaining independence and stability.

The initiative was a collaboration with the National Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC), the provincial government of Palawan, and local government units (LGUs).

Guidance was provided by professionals from the Western Philippines University (WPU), focusing on using fiberglass for boat construction due to its corrosion resistance and ease of fabrication.

WPU committed to ongoing support for the beneficiaries, offering services aimed at enhancing productivity and improving the boats.

A cash-for-work scheme was part of this initiative, where DOST Mimaropa provided each beneficiary with ₱6,000. This assistance helped with the boat fabrication process and allowed the fishermen to purchase fishing materials and explore additional income-related activities.

The project impacted 490 fishermen-families across the municipalities: Araceli (141), Dumaran (86), Roxas (68), San Vicente (68), Taytay (67), and Cagayancillo (60). This marks a step towards recovery and resilience for communities affected by Typhoon Odette, offering hope and a path forward.