PASIG CITY, August 23, 2018 – Judge Feliciano Belmonte Sr. High School (JFBSHS) in Quezon City believes that in creating a safe and positive education environment for all learners and teachers, helping both the bullied and the bully is equally important.

In the first National Child Protection Summit on August 23 and 24 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City, JFBSHS’s promising practices in implementing the Department of Education’s (DepEd) Child Protection Policy will be shared with teachers and child protection advocates and stakeholders.

“Bullying is a reality, whether in school or online, that can affect a child in different ways; but it is also a reality that we – parents, teachers, child protection advocates, and the community – can alter if we remain committed and active in promoting and protecting children’s rights. DepEd and its partners, like UNICEF and Child Protection Network, have never wavered in the commitment to ensure that all Filipino children are in a child-friendly, gender-sensitive, safe, and nurturing environment where they learn the value of respect for one another, regardless of their background,” Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis stated.

“It is alarming that many children experience cyberbullying and this calls for urgent action from all stakeholders involved in responding and preventing violence against children in the Philippines – especially from us parents and teachers. So I congratulate DepEd in leading this big step in implementing the government’s strategy to better understand the issue, and provide strategic and sustained solutions that empower parents and children in putting an end to bullying and all forms of violence,” said Lotta Sylwander, UNICEF Philippines Representative.

Dubbed as “Bully No More,” JFBSHS’s bullying prevention and intervention program aims to ensure that learners have a positive learning climate that is “inclusive and accepting, regardless of ethnicity, religion, social status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender experience, age, or disability.” The school further believes that learners are able to reach their full potential when they are in a learning environment that is inclusive, accepting, and ensured of their rights as children.

The program features an annual anti-bullying campaign for students “that aims to develop full awareness among students on the nature of bullying, its effect on the person bullied, and its repercussions on the bully.” While the activity is spearheaded by teachers, it empowers learners to be actively involved in the prevention of bullying incidents as each class president is designated as a watchperson who will help ensure that such cases are reported and addressed properly.

JFBSHS complemented Bully No More with “Magulang Kabalikat sa Bantay Seguridad” (MAKABASE), which empowers parent-volunteers to act as security personnel to prevent incidences of physical bullying within the school premises. The school noted that in the past years of MAKABASE’s implementation, a significant decrease in cases of physical abuse and bullying has been observed.

Furthermore, JFBSHS promulgated the localized version of the Child Protection Policy Code of Conduct that includes provisions on how both teaching and non-teaching school personnel should behave in dealing with the learners. In turn, JFBSHS underscores the duties and responsibilities of the students through the implementation of the Code of Conduct for the Learners.

The first National Child Protection Summit is a collaboration among DepEd, UNICEF Philippines, and Child Protection Network Foundation, Inc. that aims to convene education internal and external stakeholders to discuss child protection and identify strategies that will strengthen the implementation of the Child Protection Policy, otherwise known as DepEd Order No. 40, series 2012, at the school level. Representatives from different government and non-government organizations will exchange insights and identify strategic interventions to intensify efforts in ensuring that violence against children is reduced and that their rights are respected, upheld, and protected.