Padilla says slight physical torture is OK; receives flak

5:15 pm on 14 February 2023, Tuesday

By Caryl Gonzales

During the review of the anti-bullying programs in the Senate, Senator Robin Padilla said slight physical bullying is “more manageable” than “mental torture,” noting it helped him to become stronger in facing his life.

“Yun po sigurong physical bullying, para po sa akin, kayang i-handle ‘yun. Ang hindi po kayang i-handle ay ‘yung mental (bullying) kasi ayun po ‘yung mabigat,” (The physical bullying, for me, I can handle that. What can't be handled is the mental (bullying) because it's heavier),” Padilla said.

He added that children are currently facing mental torture as they have more access to the internet, so he pushed for the authorities to concentrate on addressing the issue.

Meanwhile, he also reiterated that it is high time to strengthen the mechanisms against bullying in schools, especially when bullying involves wealthy or powerful individuals’ children.

“Madalas ang bullying kasi anak ng mga mayayaman, anak ng pulitiko, e natakot po banggain ng teacher. Kaya siguro po ang akin pong mungkahi amyendahan ng mahal na tagapangulo ang batas na ito, maliwanag natin doon, talagang babanggain natin itong mga ito kasi yan talaga ang bully. Walang bolahan ito, kung sino talaga ang makukulit at mayayabang yan po talaga ang may kapit,” (Bullying is rampant, especially incidents involving children of politicians or wealthy parents. Teachers fear dealing with them. That is why I am for strengthening our mechanisms to deal with them - the most brazen bullies are those with connections),” Padilla said, citing how he also experienced bullying.

On the other hand, Padilla’s remark received flak from a group of students saying physical bullying affects students' mental health.

“Labis po kaming nadismaya na we have leaders normalizing physical torture. Kahit anong level man yan… Hindi dapat nilalagyan ng degree or level na may slight ba, may harsh or harsher (We are very disappointed that we have leaders normalizing physical torture. No matter what level it is... There should not be a degree or level, with slight, harsh or harsher),” National Union of Students of the Philippines president Jandeil Roperos said in a radio interview.

The student group’s president stressed that a “grievance desk” must be established and the culture of violence should be removed from schools.

Children can be strong even if they do not undergo torture, she added.

In the hearing, basic education committee chairperson Win Gatchalian presented data from a Southeast Asia Primary Learning Metrics study showing the Philippines having the highest instances of bullying in schools.

Gatchalian also acknowledged that bullying is an educational problem and creates an environment of fear among students.

Meanwhile, Education Department Assistant Secretary Dexter Galban also said in the hearing that the total number of reported cases of bullying was 11,637 from 2019 to 2020.

In DepEd’s report on bullying from 2013 to 2020, 56.79% was physical bullying, 25.43% was social bullying, 5.92% involved gender-based and biased bullying, 6.03% was cyberbullying, and retaliation bullying 5.83%.

On the other hand, Dr. Bernadette Madrid of the Child Protection Networks showed another survey in 2016 by the Children’s Welfare Council, saying 65% of children were being bullied.


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