Dragon boat race slated to help save Agusan River

BUTUAN CITY(MindaNews/20 July)— Academic leaders here are spearheading a dragon boat race to promote awareness on the preservation of Agusan River, the country’s third largest water basin.

Father Saturnino Urios Unversity (FSSU), Agusan Colleges (AC) and Butuan Doctors’ College (BDC) have started training their respective teams, composed of students, for the race slated in August.

Fr. Chito Butardo, FSSU vice president, conceptualized the idea to raise people’s support to help prevent the degradation of Agusan River, considered “Caraga’s mightiest river.”

“We want to bring the people’s attention to our river basin. If people will come closer to the river, they will get to see how dirty it has become,” Butardo said.

“The fragile ecosystem of our river is fast declining from the wastes being dumped into it from the households and industries in the upper parts of the river,” he added.

Thucyoides C. Sadiasa, AC chairperson, said that their participation in the awareness effort is part of their social welfare service.

“For us, it is a big service to the community and to the rest of the city. With the activity, we will be able to put life back into the river, creating awareness not just among ourselves but also for others to step in to help save the river,” said Sadiasa.

Sadiasa pointed out that the activity is also a good way to build better lasting relationship with other schools in the city.

Dr. Candy Estacio, BDC assistant administrative officer, expressed hopes that their initial effort would encourage more people and teams to participate in the drive to preserve the Agusan River.

“We hope other schools here in Butuan and in the [whole] region would decide to take part in what we are doing. The promotion of awareness in saving the river and our environmental advocacy is not just for our school but for the rest of the city,” said Estacio.

Since Tuesday, students from the three schools have started undergoing a two-week training from experienced dragon boat racers from the Patroits, the dragon boat team of the Philippine National Police.

A fourth boat, which was recently delivered to the city government, will soon join the training.

All the boats were constructed in Talacongon, Agusan del Sur. (Erwin Mascarinas/MindaNews)