Press Release
June 25, 2015


After engaging in a dialogue on Wednesday with some representatives from a teacher's rights group, Senator Sonny Angara said he is willing to compromise on the penal provisions of his proposed bill that seeks to expand the coverage of the anti-bullying law to include teacher bullying.

"Its primary goal is not punitive. Hindi pangunahing pakay ng panukalang ito ang parusahan ang ating mga guro. I'm willing to take out that penalty because our overarching goal here, really, is to protect and provide a good learning environment for our children," said Angara, who is also an author of Republic Act 10627 or the Anti-Bullying Act of 2013.

During the meeting, representatives from the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) stressed that teachers and school employees are already bound by Republic Act No. 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act.

The senator, however, maintained that the current anti-bullying law still needs to be expanded to explicitly state that teacher bullying is prohibited.

"Our goal is to raise awareness and to mandate each school to adopt anti-bullying policies, whether committed by students or teachers. Hindi dapat mawala yung kamalayan na bawal manakit ng bata, verbally or physically, kahit teacher ka pa. Kahit gaano kakulit o kahit nagkamali pa siya, mali na saktan mo yung bata na walang kalaban-laban. May mas mabuting paraan para disiplinahin sila.

"There's really a fine line between teacher discipline and abuse. But, the goal to create the best learning environment for our children, hindi na natin pwedeng i-negotiate 'yan," he added.

The teachers group agreed with Angara, saying that they need the Department of Education (DepEd) to provide training and the assistance of guidance counselors on how to discipline misbehaving students without resorting to corporal punishment, which, they admitted, is really a challenge especially when they are handling overcrowded classrooms.

"Enlisting the help of guidance counselors would be a good idea. In fact, under the existing anti-bullying law, aside from adopting anti-bullying policies, schools must establish intervention programs such as counseling and life skills training to enhance the psychological, emotional and psycho-social well-being of both the victim and the bully," Angara said.

The senator also said that he will study and possibly adopt some of the positive features of the Student Discipline and Teacher Protection bill filed by ACT Rep. Antonio Tinio which mandates the DepEd to provide training for educators on child behavior and psychology, classroom management techniques, positive discipline, among others.

"We agree that creating a good learning environment is not only the responsibility of teachers and students. It's also the government's moral responsibility particularly in public schools where you have overcrowded classrooms which is not any more conducive to learning.

"We are also one with their goal that the government should give teachers the necessary policy guidance, training, and institutional support to effectively instill discipline in the classroom," said Angara, who also reiterated his support for the salary increase of teachers.

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