MANILA - Simply standing by in a bullying situation is just as wrong as the bullying, a bishop who has been at the receiving end of President Duterte's tirades on the Catholic church said over the weekend.
Caloocan Bishop Pablo David, vice president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), made the remarks in light of the bullying incident in Ateneo de Manila as caught on camera recently.
David said that apart from the violence that erupted between the 2 junior high school students, the video also shows school mates who witnessed the incident but chose to leave the room to avoid involvement.
"Usong-uso ngayon yan, yung kawalan ng pakialam, yung trendsetter nanunuod lang na para bang wala tayong kinalaman," the prelate said.
(That is trending, the lack of care, people simply watching as if we are not affected.)
"Hindi pwede yun kung halimbawa ang pambubully na ating nararanasan ay hindi lang isa o dalawang tao kundi buong bayan ang tinatamaan," he told Radyo Veritas as reported by the station's news site.
(That is not okay if, for example, the bullying is not just on one or two people, but affecting the whole nation.)
David, who President Duterte had alleged might be into drugs and pocketing church donations for personal use, said it is disheartening to see the youth acting as bullies, pretending to be tough and rugged.
Bullying is never acceptable, as it normally entails hurting, harassing, and oppressing the weak and helpless, he said, as he urged the public to remain steadfast in the face of such situations.
"Hindi tama na magpatalo sa takot. Sa harap ng isang bully, napakahalaga pala na panindigan natin ang tama, ang totoo at nararapat," he said.
(It is wrong to succumb to fear. In front of a bully, it is very important to stand by what is right, true, and necessary.)
"Huwag natin yung isusuko kahit kailan. Ang kalaban sa bullying parati ay yung takot: kapag tayo pinamayanihan ng takot, tatahimik na lang tayo, manonood nalang tayo at parang wala lang kahit tayo’y inaabuso na," he added.
(Let us not give that up ever. The opponent in bullying is always fear: if this is instilled in us, we will remain silent, we will just watch as if it's nothing, even if we are already being abused.)
The video of the bullying incident triggered national conversation, with government officials asking schools to establish mechanisms to monitor students' activities and ensure the strict implementation of the Anti-Bullying Law.
Ateneo's dismissal of the bully also sparked conversation on the psychological guidance that should be given the attacker and the victim.