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President Benigno Aquino III has signed a law which seeks to curb incidents of bullying in schools all over the country.
Aquino signed Republic Act 10627 or the Anti-Bullying Act of 2013 last September 12. However, it was only released Wednesday.
Under the law, all elementary and secondary schools shall be directed to adopt policies to address the existence of bullying in their respective institutions, copies of which shall be made available to the students and their parents or guardians.
Among these policies is the prohibition of all forms of bullying on school grounds, school-related functions, and bullying through the use of technology.
Aside from this, retaliation against a person who reports bullying or provides information during the investigation of bullying shall be prohibited.
RA 10627 requires schools to impose disciplinary sanctions on the perpetrator of bullying or retaliation. In addition to this, he or she shall be made to undergo a rehabilitation program to be administered by the school concerned.
However, the new law says that the names of students who committed acts of bullying or retaliation shall be strictly confidential and only made available to the school administration, teachers directly responsible for the said students and parents or guardians of students who are or have been victims of bullying.
According to the law, bullying shall refer to "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." —Kimberly Jane Tan/KG, GMA News