DepEd probes teachers “hurling” starfishes; teacher involved speaks up

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Education already confirmed that the beachgoers “hurling and abusing” starfishes on the viral photo are indeed teachers.

In a statement, DepEd stated that they are already doing an investigation on the photo that had earned the ire of the netizens. The incident happened in October as the group were on a trip in Bataraza, Palawan.

DepEd probes teachers “hurling” starfishes; teacher involved speaks up
DepEd starts probe on the actions of a group of teachers’ in Palawan | Photo Courtesy: Facebook/Palawan Supernews

DepEd media relations officer Lawrence Cruz said, “The Department of Education (DepEd), through the DepEd Region IV-B and the Schools Division Office of Palawan, is now looking into the incident involving teachers who were photographed "throwing" several starfish into the sea.”

DepEd also added that they have reminded their teachers to act responsibly by issuing a memorandum. Cruz said, they are “reminding all teaching and non-teaching personnel of their critical role as exemplar to students in promoting the protection of and respect for all forms of wildlife."

The teachers may be charged

Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) spokesperson Jovic Fabello also condemned the act and said that the teachers involved could be charged for violating Republic Act (RA) 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Protection and Conservation Act.

Under the said law, an act that is "inflicting injury which cripples and/or impairs the reproductive system of wildlife species" is considered illegal. Anyone found guilty will be facing a fine from P30,000 to P300,000.

Fabello stated that they need to coordinate with the DepEd if teachers were indeed involved. He said, “We still need to identify those persons, and if indeed they are teachers, we will coordinate with the Department of Education (DepEd) for proper action.”

One of the teachers speak up

Meanwhile, one of the teachers involved in the fiasco spoke up. The teacher who refused to be named said that all the bashing and criticisms they have received really affected them.

She clarified that one photo does not explain what really happened. She said, “Hindi naman talaga siya binalibag, kasi that time nag-picture kami doon sa starfish and then after that sabi ibalik na sa dagat, so 'yun itinapon namin sa dagat.”

She further explained, “Ang problem lang siguro 'yung pag-capture ng picture. 'Yung isa naming kasama medyo nakaupo siya sa sand so pagtapon, sa picture, makikita ang taas pero hindi naman siya ganun kataas."

— Sally, The Summit Express

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