Flood-prone areas in Marikina get One Meralco Foundation’s salba-bote

Improvised flotation device to help communities during emergencies

Residents of Marikina’s flood-prone areas recently became the first recipients of an improvised flotation device (IFD) called salba-bote which One Meralco Foundation (OMF) is distributing to communities and rescue organizations as part of its disaster preparedness program.

Meralco Improvised Flotation Device. Avolunteer demonstrates the use of the salba-bote during the project’s public launch along the Marikina River Bank.

Local government officials led by Mayor Del de Guzman joined officers of OMF and Meralco as well as its partners in the IFD project which include Philippine Red Cross (PRC), Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary (PCGA), Pepsi and Glad.

In ceremonies to launch the salba-bote held along the Marikina River bank in Barangay Jesus de la Pena, residents from 12 barangays along the river received their IFDs.

OMF President Jeffrey Tarayao said the launch marked the start of an organized distribution of the salba-bote to various flood-prone communities and groups needing the IFD.

“We selected communities which are most vulnerable to floods and made them our priority in distributing the IFDs. We also partnered with local government units and organizations which are the frontliners when it comes to emergency response,” he noted.

Rear Admiral Valentin Prieto, who is PCGA’s deputy national director for operations, pointed out that the tests PCGA conducted proved that salba-bote is innovative and effective.

“We are certain that this IFD will definitely enhance our organization’s rescue capabilities and assist communities in risk areas to better prepare for floods and typhoons,” he said.

The salba-bote is the product of a collaboration among Meralco, One Meralco Foundation and advertising agency DDB Philippines, in partnership with Pepsi and Glad.

As a major partner, Pepsi is providing newly manufactured bottles that serve as floaters for the initial batch of the IFDs. Glad, on the other hand, provides re-sealable bags to keep disaster essentials dry inside the front pocket.

The PRC and PCGA have been fully supporting the initiative by helping develop the salba-bote’s design and specifications. Last year, PCGA conducted tests to determine the IFD’s effectiveness.

The salba-bote is made up of empty PET bottles (new or recycled) placed inside a PVC-coated mesh tote bag with a water-resistant pocket for emergency supplies like flashlights, mobile phones, medicines and bottled water. It can hold a 200-pound individual afloat.

Intended to provide buoyancy to individuals or groups during times of emergencies, the salba-boteillustrates the resourcefulness of Filipinos in making use of affordable and readily available local materials.

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