MANILA - The Department of Education (DepEd) documented more than 1,700 cases of child abuse and bullying in school year 2013-2014 after Republic Act 10627, the Anti-Bullying Act, was passed last year.
However, the DepEd said 60 percent of these cases have already been resolved.
Education Secretary Armin Luistro said violence takes many forms – peer-to-peer bullying, gender-based discrimination, physical assault, psychological punishment, public ridicule, and sexual harassment.
“Bullying and other forms of violence in schools should be viewed not just a school problem but as societal problem as well,” he said.
Luistro said RA 10627 paved the way for a heightened awareness against child abuse.
It has helped advance the DepEd’s Child Protection Policy (CPP) through the creation of Child Protection Committees in school divisions, he added.
Luistro said RA 10627 requires public and private elementary and secondary schools to adopt policies to deal with bullying to provide a safer environment for students.
“At present, 93 school divisions in seven regions have their respective pool of trainers, who are expected to roll out and to capacitate school personnel in handling child abuse and bullying cases,” he said.
Luistro said teachers humiliating students face administrative sanctions under the CPP and RA 7610, the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination.
The DepEd continues to equip teachers and school principals with knowledge of the government’s child protection policies through a series of forums and consultations, he added.
Luistro urged the public to report cases of bullying against students in public schools to the Child Protection Committee so appropriate action could be taken.