Gatchalian wants to review enactment of anti-bullying law

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 5) — Alarmed by the rising cases of bullying in the country, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian seeks congressional inquiry on the status and implementation of Republic Act (RA) 10627 or the Anti-Bullying Act of 2013.

Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, said a comprehensive analysis and gap review of the anti-bullying law is needed to ensure that all schools are implementing procedures such as immediate responses, reporting, fact-finding and documentation, intervention, and disciplinary measures.

“Kailangang masugpo natin ang bullying sa ating mga paaralan, lalo na’t nagdudulot ito ng pinsala sa kanilang pag-aaral at mental health,” he said in a statement on Sunday.

[Translation: We need to stop bullying in our schools because it causes damage to the learning and mental health of students.]

Section 2 of RA 10627 defined bullying as "any severe or repeated use of a written, verbal, physical, and electronic expression done by a student or school employee to a student that is causing fear of physical or emotional harm or damage to property; creating a hostile environment at school for the student; infringing on the rights of the student at school; or materially and substantially disrupting the education process or the orderly operation of a school."

This includes unwanted physical contact, slanderous statements, and cyberbullying.

Any school employee who commits bullying shall be punished by a fine of not less than ₱50,000 but not more than ₱100,000, at least six months but not more than one year imprisonment, or both fine and imprisonment.

A report from National Center for Education Statistics in 2019 showed that one out of every five (20.2%) students are being bullied.

It added that students who experience bullying are at increased risk for depression, anxiety, sleep difficulties, and lower academic achievement.

Gatchalian also cited the Programme for International Student Assessment in 2018 that showed among 15-year-old learners from 79 participating countries, Filipino learners are the most exposed to bullying.

The report also said 65% of students in the country experience bullying at least a few times a month.