FACT Check: No, this PH anti-bullying law does not enable victims to claim financial compensation

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Nov 14 2018 10:55 PM

A Facebook post claims that a law against bullying in Philippine schools entitles people to claim the equivalent of $280 in damages if someone calls them fat. The law does not contain any provisions allowing victims of bullying to demand financial compensation.

A widely shared Facebook post claims that the Republic Act 10627 -- anti-bullying legislation that became law in 2013 -- gives people the right to seek financial compensation from anyone who calls them fat. 

Here is a screenshot of the post, which was shared by a Facebook account that parodies the Philippines’ local broadcast organization ABS-CBN.

Screenshot of Facebook post which claims RA 10627 entitles people who were called overweight to financial compensation worth $280

The text on the photo, when translated to English, says: “Open a bank account… you will definitely get rich from this!”

The post’s caption says: “When someone calls you fat, you have the right to file a case against them or ask them to pay you P15,000 - RA10627”

15,000 Philippine pesos is the equivalent of around $280 USD.

The RA 10627 legislation was signed by then-President Benigno Aquino III on September 12, 2013 to address cases of bullying in elementary and secondary schools. 

Neither the text of the law nor its implementing rules and regulations contain any provisions allowing victims of bullying to claim financial compensation.  

According to one of the law’s authors, Senator Juan Edgardo Angara, the law does not contain any such provisions.

“This is indeed a fake news. RA 10627 or the Anti-Bullying Law DOES NOT allow people to demand P15,000 payment or file a case against those who call them fat or overweight,” Shielo Mendoza, Angara’s media relations officer, said.

She said that the law’s definition of bullying could include name-calling.

But according to the law, the penalties for bullies range from written warnings to expulsion from school and are adjudicated by head teachers. There is no mention of financial compensation for victims.

An official from the Department of Education, the agency tasked with implementing the law, also said the law did not enable victims of bullying to seek financial compensation.

“Under Republic Act 10627, there’s no provision there stating that the offending parties or the guilty party may be required to pay civil damages for violation of said act or those who failed to comply with the said law,” Tonisito Umali, undersecretary for legislative liaison office, external partnerships service and school sports told AFP.

“There’s nothing there, what’s only stated there are administrative sanctions against school administrators, suspension of permit to operate for schools that failed to comply”.

The misleading Facebook post has been shared nearly 60,000 times.

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