Senator Win Gatchalian is seeking the strict enforcement of the Anti-Bullying Act of 2013 (Republic Act No. 10627) to address the alarming incidence of bullying in the country’s schools, which is linked to poor learner performance.
According to a study conducted by De La Salle University Professor Dr. Allan Bernardo, efforts to raise the quality of education must go beyond improving the curriculum and ensuring enough resources for the safety and welfare of schools and learners. The study noted that based on the results of the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), poor readers have high exposure to bullying and a low sense of belonging.
Results of the PISA show that compared to their peers from other countries, Filipino learners are the most exposed to bullying. Among the 15-year-olds who participated in the international large-scale assessment, 65% said they experienced bullying at least a few times a month. PISA results further show that learners who reported being threatened scored 56 points lower in Reading compared to those who had no or less frequent experiences.
Gatchalian also pointed to the important role of the Child Protection Committee (CPC) at the school level in the prevention of bullying. DepEd Order No. 55 s. 2013 or the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the anti-bullying law assigns the CPC as the body that will handle bullying cases in public and private schools. According to Gatchalian, the DepEd should make sure that all schools have established their CPCs as originally mandated by DepEd Order No. 40 s. 2012.
Moving forward, the lawmaker further pressed the need to examine whether the procedures prescribed under DepEd Order No. 55, including immediate responses, reporting, fact-finding and documentation, intervention, and disciplinary measures are in place and functioning in every school. Gatchalian added the need to ensure that parents, learners, and school staff are aware of their responsibilities.
“Kasabay sa pag-angat ng kalidad ng edukasyon ang pagtiyak sa kaligtasan ng ating mga paaralan at mga mag-aaral. Kung nais nating matiyak na magiging mahusay ang ating mga mag-aaral, mahalagang masugpo natin ang bullying at matiyak nating ligtas ang espasyo ng mga paaralan,” said Gatchalian.
In 2021, the DepEd created the Child Protection Unit to strengthen the implementation of the child protection program.