Senate ratifies Juvenile Justice Act, passes bill vs bullying
MANILA, Philippines— The Senate has ratified a bill amending the Juvenile Justice Act and approved on third and final reading several measures, including a bill that seeks to lessen if not totally curb bullying among students in elementary and high schools.
No senator objected when Senate Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III moved to ratify on Wednesday the proposed amendments to the Juvenile Justice Law that would allow “involuntary commitment” at a government facility of juvenile offenders who have repeatedly committed serious crimes.
Under the proposed amendments, children (below 15 but above 12 years old) in conflict with the law (CIC) will be subjected to “intensified intervention program” and “involuntary commitment.”
Once ratified by the House of Representatives, the measure would now be transmitted to
President Benigno Aquino III for signature.
The Senate also approved on third and final reading a bill seeking to lessen, if not totally curb, bullying among students in elementary and high schools.
Senator Edgardo Angara, chairman of the Senate committee on education, said the passage of the bill was a “temporary interim measure to stop bullying in schools.”
He cited findings of a research showing at least one-third of the students in the Philippines or about 2.5 million kids were verbally or physically bullied.
Just between May and August 2012 or within a three-month period, Angara said, the Department of Education received 112 cases of child abuse and related complaints in the central office.
“The after effect of bullying is quite serious, both physically and psychologically, for it leaves an almost permanent mark on kids that remain up to their adulthood,” Angara said in a statement.
“This type of measure should be institutionalized through law so that it will become part of the school culture that bullying will no longer be tolerated in any of the campuses in the country,” he said.
Once the proposed legislation is enacted into law, Angara said, all elementary and secondary schools will have policies addressing the existence of bullying in their respective institutions.
Appropriate administrative sanctions to be prescribed by the DepEd, the senator said, will be imposed on school administrators who fail to comply with the mandate.
“School policies would prohibit acts of bullying from being committed not only within school grounds or during school sponsored activities but also in location activity functions or school programs, Angara said.
“The heart of this measure is the education of parents on bullying and to familiarize them with the anti-bullying policies of the school. With that information, parents would have better choices which schools to send their children,” he added.
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