BUTUAN CITY (MindaNews/20 March) – The Fr. Saturnino Urios University (FSUU) here is offering study grants to those interested to pursue environmental research, particularly on the effects of small- and large-scale mining and logging activities in the Caraga region.
Fr. John Young, FSUU president, said that initially, they will prioritize faculty members, but will eventually reach out to outsiders interested in this field of study when they get additional funding. He said they intend to implement the research at the start of the next school year in June.
The president’s research grant, he said, is along the university’s thrust of environmental protection and preservation.
FSUU, young said, has started the advocacy to raise public consciousness in protecting the environment and has been in the forefront in in the fight to preserve the Taguibo Watershed, which is Butuan’s source of potable water.
“The advocacy started in 2004 when the Butuan City Water District (BCWD) started giving warnings of an impending environmental problem,” Young said, adding that the city government and the National Economic Development Authority also joined the advocacy.
The priest admitted that stopping the illegal activities would be hard. “But to our minds, stopping such activities is the easy part. The difficult part is restoration, protection, the sustainability of the whole watershed,” he pointed out.
Last December the Taguibo Watershed Summit was held to assess and identify the challenges and also know what can be done in the watershed through the combined opinions of the different stakeholders.
In that summit, the Caraga State University, which is also based in this city, indicated interest to be a part of the technical group since the school offers a course on forestry. (Erwin Mascariñas / MindaNews)