Manila, Philippines – Republic Act 10627, or the Anti- Bullying Law of 2013 was finally signed by Philippine President Aquino on September 12, 2013. The new law requires all elementary and secondary schools to implement policies in their institutions and establish certain disciplinary measures. Schools must provide and distribute copies of policies which they have implemented to comply with the new law, to both parents and students six months after the law becomes effective.
The policies should include prohibitions of bullying inside the school compound — even during school-related activities — and through the use of technology (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, “cyber bullying”) as well. Violators will be subjected to certain punitive measures and also provides protection to complainants against retaliation by offenders.
It is also indicated in the law to keep the confidentiality of the identities of people who are involved in the incident. Only the Principal or Head of the school, the students’ advisers and parents, or guardians of the students involved will be informed.
Senator Juan Edgardo Angara said that this new piece of legislation will help protect children from this early form of violence. “The school is our children’s second home. I call on school authorities to be proactive and responsive to the law in order to ensure the safety of the students. That is their primary responsibility and promise to parents,” he said.
According to the law, ”any severe or repeated use by one 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; creating a hostile environment at school for the other student; infringing on the rights of the other student at school or materially and substantially disrupting the education process or the orderly operation of a school,” is considered bullying.
Schools should be a safe learning environment for our children. Through this new law the government expects that it will inhibit bullies from furthering their unjust behavior; and for the targets and victims of bullying, information dissemination regarding the newly-signed act will enlighten them and boost their confidence to speak up and seek help.