Congress approves anti-bullying bill

By Alexander Villafania

QUEZON CITY, METRO MANILA - A bill that seeks to require education institutions to create an anti-bullying policy was recently approved by the House of Representatives.

House Bill 5496, co-authored by Representative Christopher Co (AKO BICOL party-list) and called the “Anti-Bullying Act of 2012”, requires elementary and secondary schools to set guidelines on bullying.

A handbook on bullying prevention and measures will be distributed to students, teachers, parents and guardians.

The Anti-Bullying Law would also require all new schools to include policies prior to operation.

In addition, all incidences related to bullying must be reported to the division superintendents.

In turn, the reports will be sent to and compiled by the Department of Education (DepEd). The agency will then file its reports on bullying incidents to the House of Representatives’ congressional committees involved in education.

DepEd must also impose sanctions on schools that do not comply to the Anti-Bullying measures.

A similar measure on bullying was also filed by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV last year.

Bullying can be summed up as causing physical and emotional abuse against another person. Most incidents of bullying in the Philippines go unreported primarily because of the shame that victims go through.

Children who do not recover from bullying may become socially withdrawn as they grow up.

Apart from physical bullying, some children also experience “cyberbullying” through their mobile phones or the Internet.

DepEd said last year it will be coming up with more comprehensive measures on child protection, which includes measures against bullying. Education Secretary Armin Luistro cited Republic Act 7610 that identifies the types of abuse that children may suffer. This law encompasses bullying.

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