PUERTO PRINCESA, Philippines – The Department of Education (DepEd) said it will investigate the starfish-throwing incident in Palawan after it confirmed that those involved are teachers.
In a statement on Thursday, November 15, the DepEd, through its regional and division offices, said it is “now looking into the incident involving teachers who were photographed throwing several starfish into the sea.”
DepEd assured the public that its regional office will issue a memorandum “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 incident reportedly happened in Barangay Rio Tuba in Bataraza late last month.
The photos have gone viral on social media, and earned jeers from netizens after they were shared Monday, November 12, by Facebook page Palawan Supernews. Media picked up the story before the original post was taken down.
Environmental authorities have also launched a probe into the incident to penalize those involved for violating Republic Act No. 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Protection and Conservation Act.
Under RA 9147, “any person who inflicts injury which cripples and/or impairs the reproductive system” of any wildlife species will be fined P30,000 to P300,000.
In an interview with a local television station, one of the involved teachers currently serving in a school in Puerto Princesa City said they did not intend to harm the starfish but only wanted to bring them to the deeper portion of the sea. – Rappler.com