Pangilinan, Binay, De Lima appeal to public: Don't bully the bully

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – At least 3 senators called on the public to stop bullying the Ateneo de Manila junior high school student caught on video bullying other kids.

On Friday, December 21, senators Francis Pangilinan and Nancy Binay made the appeal, following the spread of the boy's video, wherein he was seen using martial arts to hurt other students.

“We are angry with a bully and rightfully so yet in our anger we bully him on Facebook? If so, then we are no different from the bully we despise and reject,” Pangilinan said on Facebook.

“The bully must account for his acts definitely but we should never, never become the monster we seek to slay,” he added.

Pangilinan said bullying should never be tolerated but the punishment should be child-appropriate and consistent with Republic Act 10627 or the Anti-bullying Law.

While she condemned the incident, Binay decried the “vicious cycle of bullying” on social media.

“We must condemn all forms of bullying. But what’s bothersome, though, is the vicious cycle of bullying. Bullying does not end by bullying the bully. It only worsens the culture of hate,” Binay said in a statement.

Nakakalungkot lang dahil ang social media has become infected by hatred. (It's saddening that social media has become infected by hatred.) Instead of being an instrument of healing, it has become a place of torment. Bullying will continue to grow if we behave like bullies. Shaming the bully is not the solution. Let's strive to heal even the tormentors, and work for a bully-free society,” she added.

In a statement on Saturday, December 22, Senator Leila de Lima said the child must have learned such violence from his environment. Primarily, she said the child must be taught about the evils of what he did and not be shamed.

"When we face incidents of bullying, especially involving children, there is only one legitimate goal: to stop the bullying. It is not to seek retribution. It is not to shame and punish per se. Any shame and punishment that an apparent “bully” might experience should be secondary to their understanding that what they did was wrong, and that they should never do it again. Punishment, especially in this case, should be a means to an end: to end the cycle of bullying," De Lima said.

"He and his victims all deserve a shot at a better future. They all have to know why it happened, so they can prevent it from happening again. And we, as a society, can better help others who are in the same situation. Otherwise, the cycle will never end. All we’ll be good at is at passing judgment, and collecting internet points," the senator added.

Parents to blame?

Other senators expressed different views.

Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito blamed the parents for the kid’s attitude. He said the student needs psychiatric help.

“The responsibility of raising one’s child rests on the parents. Students of Martial arts are taught to use their skills only for self defense and never for aggression. I myself was at one time a Taekwondo student which is why I know the discipline that is being taught,” Ejercito said.

“Problem most likely is that parents either tolerated the attitude or simply failed to inculcate correct values and behavior. The kid needs psychiatric help given the numerous times he has been involved in bullying other kids,” he added.

For Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, world boxing champion and Senator Manny Pacquiao might bring sense to the kid. 

Sasabihin ko sa aking colleague na si Senator @mannypacquiao na pagsabihan niya itong bully ng Ateneo. Tingin ko hindi makakapalag itong bully kay Sen. Manny at baka matanto nitong tao ang masamang ginawa niya sa kapwa,” Gatchalian said on Twitter.

(I will tell my colleague Senator Manny Pacquiao to talk to this Ateneo bully. I think this bully will not be able to resist him and might realize the bad thing he did to his fellow students.)

Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV called on school officials, parents, and youth leaders to make schools and communities a safe place for children.

“Tila nagkukulang tayo bilang mga gabay sa mga bata – sa pagtrato ng may respeto, dignidad at pagmamahal sa isa't-isa. Mahalaga na masunod ang mga nakaakdang patakaran pagdating sa ganitong pangyayari ngunit mas mahalagang mapag-usapan at maaksyunan kung paano proprotektahan ang ating mga anak at paano natin paiiralin ang isang lipunang may respeto at pagmamahal sa kapwa,” Aquino said. 

(It seems we failed as guardians of children – in terms of treating others with respect, dignity, and love. It is important to follow the rules when it comes to this incident but it is more important to talk about and ensure protection for our children, and how to promote a society that has respect and love for others.)

The Philippine Taekwondo Association (PTA) and the Ateneo Junior High School are launching their separate investigations into the incident. (READ: DepEd reminds schools of anti-bullying policies after Ateneo Junior HS incident) – Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is a multimedia reporter focusing on media, technology, and disinformation.

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