Solons decry Ateneo bullying incident

Domestic Affairs

MANILA Some lawmakers at the House of Representatives on Friday condemned the alleged bullying incident involving an Ateneo de Manila Junior High School student, as seen on several videos that went viral, stressing that there is "no place for bullying" in academic institutions.

One of the videos showed the implicated student taunting and attacking the victim inside a comfort room, with the latter ending up with a bloodied nose.

AKO BICOL partylist Rep. Rodel Batocabe, an author of the antibullying law, was saddened that such incident is still happening even as he slammed the alleged attempt to suppress this "mortifying truth" by preventing parents and students to share the videos.

"We urge ADMU (Ateneo De Manila University) to be transparent and take concrete actions to give justice to the boy who was bullied and his parents while committing the obviously dysfunctional and sick bully to counseling and professional medical help," Batocabe said.

"I reiterate, there is no place for bullies in our schools," he added.

Bataan Rep. Geraldine Roman echoed Batocabe's sentiments, saying there is no place in society for hate and violence, especially in schools.

"Our schools must be safe for all young Filipinos, no matter their background. My heart aches for all people who have been victims of bullying, whether it's in school, at home, or at the workplace. I know what it's like and I know the emotional pain the victims go through," Roman said.

Roman urged the public to immediately report any acts of bullying to the authorities.

"If you've ever been a victim of bullying, stay strong. Things will get better. A bright future is always ahead," Roman said.

Bagong Henerasyon partylist Rep. Bernadette HerreraDy said the video evidence must be preserved for any future legal proceedings.

"At this point in time, what we are seeking to prevent is the further damage to the future of the victim, the witnesses, and the offender. When it comes to minors in conflict with the law, the law protects both the victim and the offender. Investigations are already underway and it is but proper that we let those probes proceed," HerreraDy said.

HerreraDy stressed that "juvenile offenders" must still be treated with compassion online and in the real world in spite of "how abhorrent or repulsive" their actions may be.

She called on the Department of Education and the school to "officially inform us in timely fashion of the result of their investigation."

She also asked the Department of Social Welfare and Development to intervene and investigate.

The Ateneo Junior High School on Thursday issued an official statement, saying it is dealing with the matter seriously and made immediate investigation upon the report.

The school's management, however, appealed to the public to "help in putting a stop to the indiscriminate spreading of the video."

We express our concern also about the risks associated with sharing the video, online and in social media groups. Not only has the privacy rights of these minors, been breached but it has also provoked some reactions that do little to help the school in dealing appropriately with the incident, the statement read. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency