A recent bullying incident at the Ateneo de Manila Junior Highschool has prompted the Department of Education (DepEd) to reiterate the importance of adopting and enforcing anti-bullying policies in schools.
Below are some of the laws on children and on bullying:
Signed into law in September 2013, this seeks to prevent and address bullying in elementary and secondary schools.
Under this law, “bullying refers to any severe, or repeated use by one or more students of a written, verbal or electronic expression, or a physical act or gesture, or any combination thereof, directed at another student that has the effect of actually causing or placing the latter in reasonable fear of physical or emotional harm or damage to his property," among others. It may also mean any of the following:
1. Any unwanted physical contact between the bully and the victim like punching, pushing, shoving, kicking, slapping, tickling, headlocks, inflicting school pranks, teasing, fighting and the use of available objects as weapons;
2. Any act that causes damage to a victim’s psyche and/or emotional well-being;
3. Any slanderous statement or accusation that causes the victim undue emotional distress like directing foul language or profanity at the target, name-calling, tormenting and commenting negatively on victim’s looks, clothes and body;
4. “Cyber- bullying” or any bullying done through the use of technology or any electronic means. The term shall also include any conduct resulting to harassment, intimidation, or humiliation, through the use of other forms of technology, such as, but not limited to texting, email, instant messaging, chatting, internet, social media, online games, or other platforms or formats as defined in DepED Order No. 40, s. 2012; and
5. Any other form of bullying as may be provided in the school’s child protection or anti-bullying policy, consistent with the Act and this IRR.
Private schools that fail to comply with the requirements of R.A. 10627 will face penalties.
DepEd Order NO. 40, series 2012 institutionalized zero tolerance against any form of violence against the child and provided for the establishment of a Child Protection Committee (CPC) in all public and private schools.
- REPUBLIC ACT 7610 (1992) or the Anti-Child Abuse Law
RA 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act provides special protection to children from all forms of abuse, neglect, cruelty, exploitation and discrimination.
Under Article 1, Section 3 of the law refers to child abuse as the maltreatment, whether habitual or not, of the child which includes psychological and physical abuse, neglect, cruelty, sexual abuse and emotional maltreatment.
Meanwhile, Article VI, Section 10 of the law states that any person who shall commit any other acts of child abuse, cruelty or exploitation shall suffer the penalty of prison mayor in its minimum period.
- PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 603
The Child and Youth Welfare Code or PD No. 603 was signed in 1974 by then president Ferdinand Marcos.
It states the importance of the child, his rights and responsibilities as well as the role that the state, school and his parents play in promoting his general welfare.
Under Article 3, it guarantees the child's right to protection against exploitation, improper influences, hazards, and other conditions or circumstances prejudicial to his physical, mental, emotional, social and moral development.
- REPUBLIC ACT No. 9344 or the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006
The Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006 was signed into law on April 28, 2006 by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
The law establishes a comprehensive juvenile justice and welfare system. It also created the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Council under the Department of Justice.
Under Section 13, it states the responsibility of the educational system that should work together with families, community organizations and agencies in the prevention of juvenile delinquency and in the rehabilitation and reintegration of child in conflict with the law.