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Unsinkable boat design

DA to make 5,000 ‘unsinkable’ fishing boats in PH

Unsinkable boat design
Unsinkable boat design

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – Nearly 5,000 “unsinkable,” tree-friendly and durable fishing boats made of fiberglass are expected to be produced in the next 100 days by the Department of Agriculture.

Tagged as “Bangkang Pinoy,”, these boats will distributed by the Department of Agriculture before the end of the year as part of the government’s “build-back better” strategy to help Yolanda-affected communities quickly and strongly recover, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala announced on Monday.

“We are confident that with these new fishing boats, we are not only addressing the safety of our fishermen, but we can be assured of an increase in their productivity,” Alcala told reporters during the launching of the Bangkang Pinoy of the DA-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) at the Manila Yacht Club in Manila Bay area.

In an official statement, the DA reported that the new fiberglass boats are designed to stay afloat through rough seas and keep fishermen safer during adverse weather conditions such as typhoons.

Fiberglass boats are also cost-efficient as they are sturdier and last longer than wooden boats, DA-BFAR said in earlier media releases.

“Just like the Filipino spirit in times of catastrophes and great hardships, this boat is unsinkable,” said Alcala. “And with proper maintenance, Bangkang Pinoy could last up to 20 years. Given that it usually take one tree to build one wooden banca, imagine the number of trees that will saved and possible environmental consequences that

will be avoided.”

Bangkang Pinoy comes in two versions: a 20-footer unit valued at around P42, 000, and a 35-footer version worth around P65,000. Value includes costs of labor, motor engine and other accessories.

The Agriculture chief personally witnessed a demonstration led by DA-BFAR Director Asis Perez showing the versatility of the fiberglass boat. One boat was filled in with water and boarded by 10 volunteers and stayed buoyant despite the load.

Alcala and Perez also rode one of the five newly acquired 30-footer multi-mission boats that will help strengthen the agency’s capacity in conducting sea patrol operations for more efficient fisheries regulatory activities and quick response to disasters.  Perez said

DA-BFAR will acquire 70 units of the multi-mission boats to be deployed within the year.

Bangkang Pinoy forms part of the AHON! Rehabilitation Initiative that targets to build more than 30,000 fishing boats for Yolanda-hit municipal fisherfolk in Mimaropa, Central and Eastern Visayas.

Criselda Cabangon David, a happy mother of two kids, is a full-time Sociologist at the City Government of Lucena, Quezon Province. She is currently the Managing Editor of Ang Diaryo Natin Sunday News, a weekly local community newspaper in the Philippines and an active member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.