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Monday, April 15, 2024

Sen. Gatchalian to DSWD, DepEd: Enlist PTAs to address bullying

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SEN. Sherwin Gatchalian is urging the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to work with parent-teacher associations (PTA) in implementing the Parent Effectiveness Service Program Act, or Republic Act No. 11908, to strengthen parental involvement in child development, such as the prevention of bullying.

Gatchalian made this call as experts highlight how children engaged in bullying behavior tend to be exposed to different forms of violence at home.

In a Senate panel hearing on the implementation of the Anti-Bullying Act of 2013 (Republic Act No. 10627), Dr. Bernadette Madrid of the Child Protection Network Foundation highlighted that the alarming incidence of bullying in the country’s schools reflect the prevalence of violence that children experience.

Considering the role that families play to prevent bullying behavior, Gatchalian cited the Parent Effectiveness Service Program Act, which he authored and co-sponsored. The law establishes the Parent Effectiveness Service (PES) Program to assist all parents and parent-substitutes in strengthening their knowledge and skills in responding to their parental duties and responsibilities.

Before the passage of Republic Act No. 11908, the DSWD was already implementing the PES as an intervention to parents of children inside the child development centers. These patients are oriented on the modules of parent effectiveness service. The DSWD is also currently leading the crafting of the law’s implementing rules and regulations.

Gatchalian, however, pointed out that reaching out to at least 20 million parents is quite a challenge, which could be addressed by tapping PTAs.

“You can ride on the existing network of Department of Education [DepEd] because they already have the PTAs. That is the fastest way of accessing our parents. If you have the modules, just partner with the DepEd because the parents are already there. All you need to do is work with the DepEd to mandate the parents to join in the Parent Effectiveness Service,” Gatchalian told DSWD Social Welfare Officer IV Cheryl Mainar during the hearing.

Citing findings in the National Baseline Study on Violence Against Children in the Philippines conducted in 2015, about three in five or 66.3 percent of respondents experienced several forms of physical violence during childhood. The study added that 60 percent of these cases happened at home.

Based on the results of the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), 65 percent of 15-year-old Filipino learners reported experiencing bullying at least a few times a month. Compared to 78 other countries, the Philippines has the highest incidence of bullying in schools.

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