MANILA — The Philippine National Police (PNP) has formed a task unit to help address bullying in schools ahead of the opening of classes next week, when millions of students are set to troop back to classrooms.
PNP spokesperson Police Col. Bernard Banac advised victims to immediately report to authorities any cases of bullying for a swift investigation and apprehension if necessary.
But he clarified that police intervention only comes with the green light of school administration, unless the bullying happened outside the academe or through the Internet.
Two cyber-bullying cases have been brought before the PNP as of March this year, he said.
“Napakahalaga na makuhaan agad ng statement [ang biktima] at makuha ‘yung evidence sa online nang sa gayon ay makapagsampa tayo ng kaso, unang-una, maimbestigahan muna,” Banac told reporters in a media briefing at the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame Thursday.
“Sila dapat ay samahan ng kanilang magulang o ng any guardian.”
(It is very important to get the victim’s statement and recover any online evidence so we can file a case, but after an investigation first and foremost. They have to be accompanied by parents or any guardian.)
Banac said come first day of school on June 3, police will be proactive in spreading awareness about the Anti-Bullying Act (Republic Act 102627) and the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act (Republic Act 9344).
At least 120,000 police officers will be deployed for the scheduled class opening of public schools.
According to the Department of Education, over 2.8 million students are expected to troop to kindergarten, elementary, and high schools on Monday.
Apart from addressing bullying, police will also conduct intelligence and information gathering against possible kidnappers in schools, presence of improvised explosive devices, and other threats.
They are also tasked to keep an eye on street criminals such as snatchers, robbers, and even drug dealers.
Also, upon invitation by school authorities, the PNP may conduct inspection of dormitories and school facilities.
Banac hopes for parents’ guidance and supervision to keep their children safe.