Gatchalian wants stronger measures vs cyberbullying ahead of online classes

Robie de Guzman   •   August 13, 2020   •   223

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Thursday called for stronger measures to prevent cyberbullying as more learners are expected to spend more time online when classes formally begin this school year.

Gatchalian said students are facing an increased risk of harassment and abuse online even when they stay at home as they are forced to spend more time with their devices amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Kahit na nananatili ang ating mga mag-aaral sa kanilang mga bahay, patuloy dapat ang ating mga hakbang upang protektahan ang ating mga mag-aaral dahil hindi nawawala ang posibilidad na makaranas sila ng bullying at iba pang anyo ng pang-aabuso at karahasan,” Gatchalian said in a statement.

He cited Republic Act No. 10627 or the Anti-Bullying Act of 2013 which mandates all elementary and secondary schools to adopt policies that would address bullying.

The senator noted that out of the 79 countries that participated in the Programme for International Student Assessment, the incidence of bullying is highest in the Philippines with 65% of Filipino high school students experiencing bullying “at least a few times a month.

He also cited the latest National Baseline Study on Violence Against Children which states that 43.8% of Filipino children aged 13-17 experienced cyber violence – one-third of these were in the form of verbal abuse over the internet or cellphones while one-fourth were in the form of sexual messages.

Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate committee on basic education, arts and culture, warned that bullying may result in adverse effects including poor academic performance and an increased tendency to skip classes and dropout.

Under the Anti-Bullying Act of 2013, schools are directed to have clear strategies and procedures for responding to and reporting acts of bullying, protecting people who report bullying incidents from retaliation, providing counseling, and referring appropriate services for victims, their families, and perpetrators.

The law also mandates the Department of Education to have training programs, courses, or activities to increase knowledge and skills against bullying.

The School Year 2020-2021 in the country will open on August 24 but instead of having face-to-face classes, the Department of Education will use blended learning platforms such as TV, radio, internet and printed self-learning modules to deliver lessons to students amid the pandemic.

Abolish NFA to lower rice prices – Gatchalian

Marje Pelayo   •   August 30, 2018

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian

PASAY CITY, Philippines – Senator Sherwin Gatchalian wants the abolition of the National Food Authority (NFA).

The Senator believes the agency failed to fulfill its mandate of providing low-priced rice in the market given its three long decades of existence.

If abolished, Gatchalian believes that rice prices would drop by P10.00 per kilogram.

“Every year nagsa-subsidize tayo ng close to P7 billion pesos. Nagbibigay tayo ng pera from the taxes na binabayaran natin pero hindi naman nila ginagawa ang trabaho nila. Sayang ang subsidya na ibinibigay natin. Pangatlo kapag inabolish natin ang NFA, bababa ang presyo ng bigas ng almost P10 per kilo,” the senator concluded. – Nel Maribojoc / Marje Pelayo

DBM might request for supplemental budget in case free tuition program falls short of fund

UNTV News   •   August 7, 2017

IMAGE_UNTV_NEWS_080717_DBM

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) faces the challenge of where to get the billions of pesos worth of funds needed for the free tuition of State Universities and Colleges (SUCs).

This is after President Rodrigo Duterte’s signed the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act.

DBM Secretary Benjamin Diokno said the Budget Department might request for a supplemental budget from Congress to fund the said program.

Diokno, however, noted that the program may not yet be implemented in full.

“Remember, not all universities are in full complement because of the K to 12, so there are still loopholes in the few freshmen and few sophomores so these things will normalize maybe after 3 years,” said Sec. Diokno.

This has also been the view of Senator Sherwin Gatchalian in terms of funding.

“Maybe a 2 year or 3 year phase-in process, which means we will fund the most important which is the tuition fee, maybe on the 2nd year we can fund the miscellaneous fees and the 3rd year we can fund the subsidies,” Sen. Gatchalian said.

The amount needed to fully implement the Free Tuition Law will reach P25-billion.

In the next series of hearings on the proposed budget of the administration, the DBM expects that the number of students who might benefit from the new law would be clarified.

“We intend to maintain the current capacity, we cannot for example state college from 10,000 students it would be 50,000. That is not possible,”  Diokno said.

But Senator Panfilo Lacson believes there is a fund in the national budget that can be used for the Free Tuition Law.

He cited as what was done in the 2017 budget where P8.3 billion from what he claims as pork allocation of congressmen went to the fund of Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

Lacson said this is what they also intend to do in the 2018 proposed national budget. – Nel Maribojoc | UNTV News and Rescue

 

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