Statement of the Commission on Human Rights on remarks tolerating physical bullying in schools

Statement of the Commission on Human Rights on remarks tolerating physical bullying in schools

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) acknowledges the initiative of the Senate of the Philippines in looking into the government’s anti-bullying programmes and how the State can further improve the protection of the rights and welfare of children with the review of Republic Act No. 10627 or the Anti-Bullying Act.

As the country’s independent national human rights institution and Ombud for Children , we continue to stress that bullying is not a simple issue that only the child and their family have to face. School officials, as well as the community at large, need to similarly take part in preventing, if not totally eliminating, instances of bullying and addressing its negative impacts to children’s development.

CHR expresses concern over statements that tolerate any form of bullying. Whether physical or mental, regardless of perceived effect or lack thereof, bullying should never be condoned.

The Philippines, as a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, has an obligation to ensure protection and care for children necessary for their well-being. The 1987 Constitution also outlines the right of children to “special protection from all forms of neglect, abuse, cruelty, exploitation and other conditions prejudicial to their development” (Article XV, Section 3). Allowing any form and degree of bullying contravene these obligations for its long-term effects on the mental health,  learning behavior, and overall development of children.

CHR stresses that, in order to raise a generation of productive and responsible citizens, we need to work collectively to foster safe, inclusive, and supportive environments for all Filipino children.

CHR continues to remind the government to uphold the best interest of the child at all times. Akin to the proverb reminding that “it takes a village to raise a child,” we urge government officials and those in position to influence to be circumspect in their statements and its possible implications to upholding the human rights of the vulnerable, including children. We shall continue to work with relevant agencies and offices, such as  the Department of Education, in advising on human rights standards that address challenges detrimental to our children’s welfare and development—within and beyond school premises. ###

[1] CHR Operational Guidelines and Rules and Procedures for Monitoring the Convention on the Rights of the Child,

[2] CHR NCR Advisory on the issue of bullying,

[3] National Baseline Study on Violence Against Children in the Philippines. UNICEF Report. October 2016.