Fighting Bullies with the Law

If you’re a bully (or if you the victim of bullying), you better read this. If you’re one of those who believe that enacting a law to fight bullies is not an effective way of teaching children to stand on their own, better accept the fact that the Philippines now has a law to fight bullying. On 12 September 2013, President Aquino signed Republic Act No. 10627, also known as the Anti-Bullying Act of 2013. [See also: Anti-Bullying Act of 2013 Primer]

This law characterizes bullying as any severe or repeated use by one or more students of a written, verbal or electronic expression, or a physical act or gesture, or any combination thereof, directed at another student that has the effect of actually causing or placing the latter in reasonable fear of physical or emotional harm or damage to his property; creating a hostile environment at school for the other student; infringing on the rights of the other student at school; or materially and substantially disrupting the education process or the orderly operation of a school.

Kids, particularly boys, normally engage in physical acts like pushing, shoving, kicking, slapping, tickling and headlocks. Kids engage in school pranks. Kids tease each other. While these acts may be fun  to many, our lawmakers consider these acts (yes, including tickling) — so long as the act is unwanted by the victim — as bullying.

We must note that the law does not use the term “kids” (and it generally use the term “perpetrator” instead of bully). We use the term “kids” because the law only covers elementary and secondary schools. It does not cover college students.

Bullying is not limited to the usual physical confrontation like punching and fighting. Bullying includes any act that causes damage to a victim’s psyche and/or emotional well-being, as well as any slanderous statement or accusation that causes the victim undue emotional distress like directing foul language or profanity at the target, name-calling, tormenting and commenting negatively on victim’s looks, clothes and body. Call someone a jologs and you’re probably in for bullying.

Because kids have access to social networks online, there’s also cyber-bullying or any bullying done through the use of technology or any electronic means.

And the penalty? No, there’s no imprisonment provided under the Anti-Bullying Act. Government social workers already have their hands full with children in conflict with the law or CICL. This law does not impose any criminal penalty for bullying, but requires schools to promulgate rules and regulations which must include disciplinary actions. This is, of course, without prejudice to criminal liability under other laws, like physical injuries under the Revised Penal Code.

So, what do you think of this new law? [See also: Anti-Bullying Act of 2013 Primer]


  1. Its a bit apt for the times. However, we have to note when this was published in 2 newspapers of general circulation. Dya have any idea Atty Pamaos? Also, are there any IRR issued by the Deped? They will take their sweet time….I will ask Usec Muyot.

    1. Hi EV! No info yet when it was published or if it has been published. Maybe some of the community nembers have the info. I guess the IRR won’t take long because this law is short and limited. Do update us what Prof. Muyot says. Thanks.

    1. Hi Deo, it appears from the definition and the text that this law applies only to students. Of course, in the same way that students may be liable under other laws, non-students may also be liable under other laws.

    1. Hi Carlo, it would make sense for schools to wait for the IRR because there are minimum requirements in that IRR. These minimum requirements must in turn be included in the school rules.

  2. atty. tanong ko lang po kung ano po ang masuggest nyo sa situation na ito: kasi po ang papa ko nagbiro po siya dun sa mga bata na huwag tawagin ang nagpatakbo ng kapitan dito sa amin na chee-tae (sita po ang name niya) kc nd nman siya unggoy gaya ni renie rekistas sa movie na tarzan. ngaun po gusto siya kasuhan ng bullying nung nagpatakbo na kapitan na c sita.. tama po ba iyon? ano po ang penalty ng bullying? pinagbantaan pa po sila na huwag dumaan sa lugar nung sita.. ano po ang dapat gawin ng magulang ko?

  3. Good evening sir,
    My question is this… If your son is being bullied at his school and you have spoken to the teachers and other school personal that are involved, but the bullying continues to happen, what legal actions can I take? I have already spoken to the people in charge but even if after all the investigations, all the talks, if my son is still being bullied, may I take legal action against the school? If yes, can you recommend me a good lawyer. Thanks for your help.

  4. Im a college student. And I was bullied by a school official by calling me “nognog” and asked if I was growing up mentally. What should I do?

  5. Hi sir…if the act happened only once but has traumatized the child, would it be covered by the anti-bullying act?salamat po.

  6. sir/maam,tanong ko lang po kung ano ang parusa?kasi kapatid ko emotionaly binu bully,kasi sabi nya manamaliit siya….tapos nasuntok nya ang bully pero hindi gumanti nag mura lang daw..ano gagawin ko po kasi pinapabayad kmi kasi pina ct scan..èh malayo po akô sa kanila tapos wala kmi panbayad.ty po sna masagot tanong ko

  7. bakit elementary and secondary level lang ang sakop? how about tertiary level? nag-eexist din ang bullying sa college.

  8. Hello Sir Good Day po, I’m a college student. And I have a classmate that is being cuber bullied. Is there a law that includes college students being bullied or cyber bullied?? Hoping for your immediate answer. Thank you po.

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