Davao City council passes Anti-bullying Ordinance

Contributed photo
Contributed photo

WITH 17 affirmative votes, two negative, and one abstention, the Anti-Bullying Ordinance of Davao City has been passed by the Davao City Council on its third and final reading.

The ordinance aims to address and prevent bullying in schools, workplaces, and other public places.

“So unta pinaagi na ordinansa maghatag ta og mga anti-bullying policies sa mga workplaces pod nato, dili nag magresort ang mga workers nato na mag-resign na lang, wala silay makuha na benefits (So I hope through this ordinance, workplaces can provide anti-bullying policies so that our workers won't have to resort to resigning, and they won't lose their benefits),” City Councilor Enzo Villafuerte, author of the ordinance, said in a phone interview with SunStar Davao on April 13. The Special Office Children’s Concerns (SOCC) under City Mayor’s Office, Department of Education-Davao Region (DepEd-Davao), Department of Labor and Employment-Davao Region (Dole-Davao), and the City Legal Office have supported the creation of the ordinance.

Villafuerte said DepEd-Davao and Dole-Davao have received reports of bullying in schools and workplaces.

In the ordinance, schools and businesses are directed to create anti-bullying policies that are strictly regulated and followed.

For bullying happening in other public places, the ordinance will also address and give solutions to the concerns through the Women and Children Protection Desk Officers or Violence Against Women (VAW) Desk Officers in barangays.

A City Anti-Bullying Council will also be formed with the approval of the ordinance, which will formulate implementing rules and regulations (IRR) in addressing bullying and to create interventions for those being bullied.

“As of local data, wala pa (We have no Davao City based-data), mao nang gibutang pod namo sa ordinance that they (CABC) can ask for data from our schools and establishments kung pila ba gyud ang bullying cases sa ilahang jurisdiction,” Villafuerte said.

“Isa sa goals sa ordinance na mahibal-an nato unsa karampant jud ang bullying, para in the future makabuhat tag mga programs na to prevent bullying (One of the goals of the ordinance is for us to know how prevalent bullying is, so that in the future we can create programs to prevent them),” Villafuerte added.

Villafuerte said the ordinance will also provide intervention and diversion programs for minor cases.

The ordinance will penalize establishments that will continue to allow bullying in their jurisdiction. Those who fail to comply with the ordinance will be fined P5,000. for first offense. For the second and subsequent offenses, they will be fined P5,000 and be denied business permit renewals and other City Government papers.

For minors who are found to have participated in acts of bullying, they could face imprisonment once they reach the age of 18. According to the ordinance, they may face imprisonment for a duration between three and six months and/or a monetary fine ranging from P3,000 to P5,000. The exact penalty will be determined by the court's discretion.

Meanwhile, Majority floor leader Jesus Joseph Zozobrado III was among the two who voted “no.” The other councilor is City Councilor Conrado Baluran.

“I’m not against this ordinance, I just find the provisions of this ordinance inconsistent and I wanted it to be corrected,” Zozobrado said during the council session Thursday, April 13.

However, Villafuerte said they had already clarified together with their committee that the ordinance is consistent and complementary with other agencies and even other national laws.

“Dili man ta mag-overlap o mag-supersede sa ilang authority (We will not overlap our policies with other agencies), we are complementing them sa ilang mga (in their) existing policies,” Villafuerte said in a phone interview.

“We will just follow their circulars sa mga agencies na involved, DepEd, Ched, Dole, nakabutang sa ordinansa, dili mi magbuot kung unsa’y mga policies nila with regards sa mga under sa ilaha (as stated in the ordinance, we will not overlap to their policies),” Villafuerte added. ICE

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