Pangasinan Board gets tough on bullies

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Members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (Provincial Board) have called for the stricter implementation of existing laws and regulations to heighten awareness and vigilance on the incidence of bullying in the province through a resolution approved on Monday, following a series of bullying incidents here.

Board member Jeremy Agerico Rosario noted there are already existing laws, such as the Anti-Bullying Act of 2013 or Republic Act No. 10627, and even Department of Education (DepEd) circulars to stop bullying among students or young people.

“Kailangan ng honest-to-goodness implementation talaga,” he said in an interview Wednesday.

The resolution stemmed from an alleged bullying incident last January 15 involving students of the Mangaldan National High School, resulting in the
death of one of them.

“It was noted that bullying is a common occurrence in school. There are several types of bullying. It could be physical, emotional, verbal or cyber. Increased awareness is being encouraged,” Rosario said.

He added that an insufficient number of guidance counselors in schools is also a problem within the academe.

“There are items in DepEd for guidance counselors but only few were able to get employed due to strict qualification standards set by the Civil Service Commission. Now teachers are tasked to act as homeroom guidance counselors,” Rosario said.

He also encouraged parents and students to take an active role, noting that early detection is needed to minimize, if not to eradicate, this problem.

Lawyer Donato Balderas Jr, DepEd Division II Schools Supt, said the number of bullying cases has risen since 2015.

“There were 135 recorded cases in School Year 2015-2016, which increased in School Year 2016-2017 with 276 cases and rose to 521 in school year 2017-2018,” Balderas said in a statement, attributing the increase to more vigilance and reporting of teachers and students.

After the incident, Balderas issued a memorandum ordering school principals in his division to conduct re-orientation of the DepEdchild protection
policy, and to mandatorily incorporate it in their messages and talks in every flag-raising activity.

“While every school is mandated to look into the safety and welfare of the students at all times, and in addition to the security and safety measures being undertaken already by the schools, this office hereby directs all principals to design and submit specific measures peculiar of their school’s characteristics and needs to further enhance already existing security and safety activities and procedures for pupils and students,” he said. (PNA)

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