The head of the Episcopal Commission on Youth of the Philippine bishops’ conference called on Filipinos to get involved in efforts to address bullying among the youth.
“The better solution is not simply reporting but building and promoting a safe culture and environment especially for the young and vulnerable,” said Bishop Rex Andrew Alarcon of Daet, chairman of the Church’s youth commission.
The prelate said that without the community, including parents and teachers, bullying is hard to stop.
“We call on everyone, as we commit ourselves, to raise awareness and promote a culture of safety, of peace and solidarity,” the prelate was quoted as saying by a CBCP News report.
“This is a call to go back to the family, the school and our small communities,” he said.
The prelate made the statement following a Senate inquiry that revealed that the Philippines is the most problematic among over 70 countries in the world for bullying.
Citing a report of the Program for International Student Assessment, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said that seven out of 10 students in Philippine public schools have suffered bullying.
The senator, who chairs the Senate committee on basic education, stressed the figure accounts to about 17.5 million students that have been bullied across the country.
Gatchalian also said the data were consistent with the World Health Organization report, which showed that 40.6 percent of children aged 13 to 17 have experienced bullying in various forms.
Bishop Alarcon expressed sadness over the increase of bullying incidents in the country, saying “it is not only an educational problem.”
“It should be a concern for all,” he said.
“We are sorry for the victims of bullying. Let us strive to end the cycle of bullying where it exists, for we are capable of kindness, trust and love,” said the bishop.
“May our faith in a loving God lead us to work for a more humane society and continue to deepen the bonds of our common humanity as we foster respect for fellow human beings and for all creation,” he added. – from a CBCP News report
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