Fight for Freedom

It was just mid-morning but the three-storey building was already crowded with young warriors. Armed with their paintbrushes and various colors of paint, they attacked the wall as they start fighting for freedom.

Initiated by environmentalist and artist AG Sano, the Dolphin Loves Freedom Network painted an entire school building wall in Quezon City High School with dolphins and different marine creatures last September 15.

Sano said that the project aims to bring awareness to the people especially the youth to protect the environment.

Simple lang, maging mabuting mamamayan. Huwag magtapon ng basura sa kalsada dahil sa dagat din naman yun napupunta (It’s simple, be a good citizen. Do not throw garbage in the streets because it will also eventually reach the sea), “explained Sano.

Ric O’ Barry, an international dolphin advocate, also joined the group. He was the former dolphin trainer for the television series Flipper who became an advocate after witnessing Katie died in his arms. Katie was one of the five dolphins who acted as Flipper.

He encouraged the Filipinos to discontinue buying dolphin show tickets and to stop the funding of this kind of tourism industry.

“This is the way to go. It’s based on supply and demand like any other product, like Coca- Cola or anything else. If you can get the consumers, educate them, they can solve the problem,” O’ Barry added.

He also explained that this is a form of miseducation on the students.

“The dolphin show is nothing more than a spectacle and dominance. And it teaches our children that dominance is good. That dominance is life. Dominance works. They go out in life and they dominate the rest of wildlife nature. So it is a form of bad education that should be outlawed,” clarified O’ Barry.

He was touring different countries under the Dolphin Project campaign of the Earth Island Institute. It aims to stop dolphin slaughter and exploitation around the world. He has been to Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Germany, Switzerland and other countries in the Pacific.

“Don’t buy a ticket for a dolphin show. It sounds very simplistic but that is the solution,” said O’ Barry.

However, students had differing views regarding the matter. Some were in favor of stopping and closing the dolphin shows while some think otherwise.

Rd Delfin, a high school student, said that animal shows give her the chance to have a once in a lifetime experience in seeing the dolphins up close opting her to let it not closed down.

Other personalities also attended the event. Kabataan Partylist Rep. Raymond Palatino was present and even painted a blue dolphin together with O’ Barry.

Palatino was the author of House Resolution No. 2759 which urges the Department of Education (DepED) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) in banning school field trips to theme parks possessing captive dolphins and whales.

“School field trips are designed to expand the students’ learning through live interaction. However, dolphin and whale shows teach children the wrong values that keeping wild animals in captivity is acceptable,” said Palatino in his resolution.

O’ Barry could not be more than happy with the move made by Palatino. He said that this is a first in the world. He also emphasized that dolphins should be kept in their natural habitat and not in a swimming pool.

“Dolphins belong in the wild and if you want to save them, you should go there to see them,” he enunciated.

The event lasted the entire day and an estimate of more than a hundred students joined the campaign.