Widespread Campus Bullying Alarms DepEd

MANILA, Philippines --- The Department of Education (DepEd) has intensified efforts to protect students in the wake of reports of widespread cases of bullying in both public and private schools.

The latest case of campus bullying happened at the Las Piñas East High School in Barangay Pamplona, Las Piñas City last Friday.

Chief Superintendent Benito Estipona, Southern Police District (SPD) director, identified the suspects as Leandro Sarno Jr., 24, single, jobless, of 21A Jasmin St., Doña Manuela Subdivision, Las Piñas; and Justine Mejia, 18, a student, of Block 8, Lot 8, Mark St., Doña Manuela Subdivision.

Estipona said the suspects are now facing charges of illegal possession of firearm, grave threats, and physical injuries in relation to Republic Act 7610 or the Special Protection of Children against Abuse, Exploitation, and Discrimination Act after Sarno poked his 9mm pistol on Cedric Ronquillo, 17, at 12:40 p.m. Friday inside the Las Piñas East High School.

Ronquillo managed to seek help from a patrolling police officer while Sarno tried to escape on board a motorcycle driven by his cohort Mejia. But the policeman captured the duo before they could flee.

Another recent bullying victim was Jaime Garcia, a senior high student at the Colegio de San Agustin in Makati City.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) has already revoked the firearms licenses of Allan Bantiles, the suspect who allegedly poked his gun at Garcia.

Amid the reported incidents of bullying, Education Secretary Armin Luistro yesterday reiterated that the Department of Education (DepEd) continues to monitor violence against students inside the campus through the implementation of its Child Protection Policy (CPC).

"It's a good thing that we already launched the CPC because sa mga ganitong cases ng bullying, di lamang dapat paisa-isa na pagtingin kundi dapat pangkalahatan kasi magiging paulit-ulit," Luistro said.

Based on the CPC, prohibited acts include child abuse, discrimination against children, child exploitation, violence against children in school, corporal punishment; any analogous or similar acts; and bullying or peer abuse.

The CPC DepEd's "Policies and Guidelines on Protecting Children in School from Abuse, Violence, Exploitation, Discrimination, Bullying and Other Forms" was launched last May. "The policy guidelines have listed down the specific acts that constitute child abuse and violence which public and private schools can use as a guide in addressing this silent but very real social problem," Luistro explained. "The guidelines aim to protect the child from all forms of violence that may be inflicted by adults, persons of authority as well as their fellow students, including bullying," he added.

Currently, Luistro DepEd is focused on promoting positive ways to protect children inside the school. Luistro said that there are many cases of violence against students, particularly those committed by a student against a fellow student such as bullying in schools. However, he admitted that there are few cases reported to them because students and even parents do not report these incidents of violence in the schools.

"This is why we continue to urge schools, students, and parents to report to us cases of violence in schools particularly bullying because recognizing that this is happening is one of the ways to address this problem," Luistro said. Cases of violence against students are usually reported to the Office of Undersecretary for Legal and Legislative Affairs to ensure that proper monitoring and investigation would be conducted.

Data from DepEd showed that as of August, 2010 to May, 2012, a total of 112 cases of child abuse and related complaints have been referred to Central Office. Topping the list is the National Capital Region (NCR) with 59; Region 4A with 22; Region VII with 5; Regions I, III and IX with 4; Region IV- with 3; Region XII with 2; CAR, VI, X, XI, and XIII with 1. Region V received no complaint of bullying.

In an earlier interview, Undersecretary for Legal and Legislative Affairs Albert Muyot said investigation might still be ongoing for most of these cases, while the others have already been settled at the school level. When it comes to teacher-involved violence, Muyot reminded that administrative and even criminal charges can be filed against them if they are found guilty of violating the provisions of the law and the Civil Service Code.

Luistro said that bullying or violence in school in general is not just a problem inside the school.

Philippine Psychiatric Association spokesperson Dr. Babes Arcenas said bullying should be addressed the first time it occurs to let the bully know that he does not have power over the one that he or she is bullying.

Arcenas said bullying is encouraged and intensified when the bully receives the message that he or she can repeat the act as if the perpetrator is in control of the situation.

"The first time it is done, show that you can fight back. You have to show that you are in control because if they see you crying, they will think they have power over you. You should be able to tell them to leave you alone or you will report them to the authorities," Arcenas said in a phone interview.

Among women, the most common form of bullying that they receive attacks on the emotions such as gossip. On men, it often involves physical harm.

Bullying.org lists down other forms of bullying such as Verbal (name-calling), Physical, Social (leaving someone out of a game or group on purpose), Extortion (stealing someone's money or toys) and Cyberbullying or bullying via the Internet, mobile phones and others.

"Bullies come in all shapes and sizes and ages. Anyone can be a bully - even you. Kids usually become bullies because they are unhappy inside for some reason or don't know how to get along with other kids," the online resource said.

According to Arcenas, bullying is considered a problem in behavior often caused by familial problems and sometimes, psychological problems.

"The problem sometimes lies in the family itself. If you provide love and attention to the kids, then they know they are in a safe place. If they don't get it inside the home, they will try to get attention or love somewhere else."

The targets of bullies are often the ones who are "alone" and those who appear to be nerdy, small in stature or those who are perceived as weak in personality. Victims often suffer from anxiety and may develop low self-esteem or lost of self-confidence.

"If the bullying is addressed and intervention is given early on, there is hope that it would stop. The one being bullied should talk about it to his or her parents and to school authorities," Arcenas said. (With reports from Ellson A. Quismorio and Jenny L. Manongdo)


Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Mercy pleas for Indonesia death row inmates as families arrive
    Mercy pleas for Indonesia death row inmates as families arrive

    Families of foreign drug convicts set to be hauled before the firing squad in Indonesia issued desperate mercy pleas on Saturday, as relatives and diplomats descended on a prison island ahead of the looming executions. Consular officials were arriving at a town near Nusakambangan, the high-security prison island where its executions are carried out, and where all of the death row convicts are now congregated. The foreigners -- two from Australia, one each from Brazil, France and the …

  • United States seeks access to Philippine bases as part of Asia pivot
    United States seeks access to Philippine bases as part of Asia pivot

    The United States has asked for access to Philippine military bases in eight locations to rotate troops, aircraft, and ships as Washington shifts its forces to Asia and as China expands its military presence in the South China Sea. U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, in a speech in Arizona, has outlined Washington's next phase in its Asia "pivot", deploying its most sophisticated destroyers, bombers and fighters to the region. The Asia "pivot" has already seen U.S. Marines rotating through the …

  • China's island-building to loom large at SE Asia summit
    China's island-building to loom large at SE Asia summit

    China's creation of new island footholds in contested seas will hover over a Southeast Asian summit that has become an annual test of the region's nerve in standing up to its massive neighbour. The South China Sea hot potato drops this year into Malaysia's lap as the rotating chair of the 10 member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and host of Monday's meeting. ASEAN states Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei claim parts of the strategic South China Sea, but Beijing …

  • Philippines, China trade accusations over sea threats

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippines accused China of aggressive maneuvers against its reconnaissance plane and fishermen in disputed seas where Beijing has stepped up construction of artificial islands, but China reiterated its claim on the strategic waterways. …

  • Indonesia orders execution of Mary Jane, 9 others
    Indonesia orders execution of Mary Jane, 9 others

    Indonesia has ordered preparations for the execution of 10 drug convicts, including Filipina Mary Jane Veloso, as the Philippine government filed yesterday a second appeal for judicial review of the case to save the maid from death by firing squad. The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) of Indonesia released an official letter dated April 23, instructing prosecutors to prepare for the execution of 10 convicts, the Jakarta Post reported yesterday. The execution would be conducted after the …

  • Business groups back K to 12 program
    Business groups back K to 12 program

    The government’s K to 12 program adding two more years to basic education received support from various business groups yesterday. However, they urged relevant government agencies to deal with issues regarding the implementation of Republic Act 10533, the Enhanced Basic Education Act or K-12 Law. In a statement, business groups led by the Philippine Business for Education (PBEd) said RA 10533 is a milestone piece of legislation that intends to bring the Philippines up to par with the rest of …

  • Happiest nations: Phl ranks 90th
    Happiest nations: Phl ranks 90th

    Switzerland is the happiest country in the world, while the Philippines placed 90th, according to a global ranking of happiness unveiled in New York on Thursday. Switzerland was followed closely by Iceland, Denmark, Norway and Canada. The 2015 World Happiness Report is the third annual report seeking to quantify happiness as a means of influencing government policy. The United Nations published the first study in 2012. …

  • Asean leaders want binding sea code with China
    Asean leaders want binding sea code with China

    Southeast Asian leaders will seek to speed up plans for a binding code of conduct with China governing behavior in the disputed South China Sea at a summit next week, Malaysia’s foreign minister said Friday. Foreign Minister Anifah Aman said a massive flow of Muslim Rohingya refugees from Myanmar to neighboring countries will also be discussed at the two-day summit of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which starts Monday. Anifah said leaders are expected to raise concerns …


Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Poll Choice Options