Senate hearing recognizes bullying beyond school grounds

Senate hearing recognizes bullying that happens beyond school grounds

/ 09:54 PM February 14, 2024

Bullies are no longer just naughty kids in school, sometimes they are our own parents, friends, and teachers. 


MANILA, Philippines — Bullies are no longer just naughty kids in school, sometimes they are our own parents, friends, and teachers.

This was according to Dr. Gladys Nivera, Dean of the College of Teacher Development at the Philippine Normal University. Nivera aired her observation during the Senate committee on basic education’s hearing on the 2022 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) results.


“Even the family members, the parents, the friends are the bullies. My question is, it seems we are desensitized to it. I have friends, teachers who call their kids “taba” — why tabs? Because she’s [ma]taba (fat). Body shaming within the family and we think it’s okay,” said Nivera.


She then added that teachers, sometimes, participate in this “subtle” type of bullying, too.

“I think it’s high time to raise these issues and become sensitive to them. We must put a stop to it and we also have to also teach the teachers to spot these cases and stress that it is not funny. These are cases of teachers who are bullies themselves,” she added in a mix of English and Filipino.

‘Bullying, a significant issue in 2022 PISA’

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, who was presiding over the hearing as committee chair, admitted that bullying has become a “very big issue in the PISA 2018,” and it still is a major concern, considering that it is still a “significant issue this time in the 2022 results of PISA.”

“In other words, another issue that we need to look at and address is the cases of bullying because it affects the learner performance and learner outcome,” said Gatchalian.

To prove his point, Gatchalian presented data showing the effect of bullying on students’ math scores. The senator’s presentation indicated that bullying, in fact, affects students depending on how often it occurs.


Meanwhile, Department of Education Assistant Secretary Alma Torio, who was also present in the hearing, said the agency is now working to strengthen the functions of its learners rights protection office.

Torio said they commit to “review [their] child protection policy as well as capacitate the members of [their child] protection committee.”

To ensure that cases of bullying are addressed, Torio emphasized that they are now crafting a peace education program. Apart from these, the DepEd official noted that they are continuously working to enhance their programs covering values education.

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“In the MATATAG curriculum, we had enhanced Values Education and Good Manners and Right Conduct,” she added. With reports from Melanie Torio, trainee

TAGS: bullying, hearing, Senate

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