School bullies: Unbearable scourge to Filipino families
The world survey that our country was number one among 70 countries in bullying is both alarming and worrisome. This finding came from an undated report from the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) also used by the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development).
According to PISA, we are number 1, Brunei Darussalam is second, Indonesia is number 5, Malaysia- 9, New Zealand-25, Australia-29, Hongkong-30 and Thailand-33, Macau 34, Vietnam -37, Singapore-39, and USA-41.
In 2016, the National Baseline Survey on Violence against Children led by the Council for the Welfare of Children said 65 percent of Filipino students from Grade 1 to Grade 12 have been bullied nationwide. Compare this to the world average of only 20 percent by the OECD.
Child Protection Network Foundation Executive Director Bernadette Madrid confirmed that this percentage is around 17.5M bullied students. Save the Children Philippines Child Protector Wilma Banega says most victims are female (70.5 percent) and “bullying triggers” were physical appearance, status in life and skin color. Also victimized were children with disabilities, those belonging to LGBTQ community. Recent police events say even teachers and other school personnel were bullied.
We have an existing Anti-Bullying act of 2013 (RA 10627), but this law failed to stop the increasing incidents. DEPED’s official data from 2013 recorded 1,309 cases but this zoomed to 11,637 cases from 2019 and 2020.
Aside from reiterating good manners and right conduct to everybody, the deployment of “professional” guidance counsellors in each school, I think, would be a great help. They should respond quickly and discreetly to student reports of “bullying”. It is also important that law enforcement officers be positioned just near but outside school premises, to immediately respond to violent cases.
In the last 2021-2022 school year, 404 students committed suicide while 2,147 attempted but failed. Horrible numbers that need government action immediately.
Amen 26-year-old GSIS Law to help retiring gov’t employees — CSC Lizada
There is increasing discussion on lowering of optional retirement in government service from 60 to 56 years old. But retaining compulsory retirement age at 60. This is indeed a welcome idea, but first, legislators should seriously look and immediately amend the 1997 GSIS LAW (RA 8921) to provide full retirement benefits to the hardworking government employees. Yes, these publics receive a much bigger pension from GSIS than their SSS counterparts, but this was because of huge salary deductions. And from many conversations, GSIS is not the benevolent kind, and some retirees think that some of its people will do everything to lower their lump sum and monthly pension.
The Civil Service Commission (CSC), which is technically the Government’s Human Resources Department (HRD) of the more than 1.7M public workers, has been receiving mounting complaints from its employees who are all GSIS members. CSC Commissioner Atty. Aileen Lizada, in my radio interview, pointed out the lack of existing GSIS policy in the 2997 GSIS LAW for beneficiaries of retiring Single, Solo Parent and LGBTQ members. There also complaints that the present computation of pension based on three-month average salary be amended and pegged at the last salary upon retirement.
Another question is the policy that retirement must be served only to those who completed 15 years of service and reached 65 years old. Atty. Lazada claims that if the govt employees fail to complete these requirements, he/she will only receive “separation pay” and his/her previous “salary contributions” will be forfeited to GSIS. I also received reports that “pensionable years” of retiring members substantially decreased because of ultra-strict policies on contestable “leaves without pay” thus lower lump sum benefits and monthly pension. An approach that runs counter to rewarding these public servants who are bowing out of service.
From what we’ve heard, the new GSIS President/General manager Jose Arnulfo “Wick” Veloso is a financial whiz, and an action person. In the past seven months, he posted a record breaking P6.8B non-life insurance premium last year, while moving quick on cash gifts, educational, housing and typhoon loans aside from pushing for digitalization and
anti-red tape policies.
Perhaps, he can re-examine these valid observations from the Civil Service Commission and move towards updating their “old” GSIS law in the greater interest of its 2.5 million members and pensioners.
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