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House, Senate okay anti-bullying bill

The House of Representatives on Thursday adopted a Senate bill that would lessen, if not totally eradicate the incidence of bullying among students in elementary and high schools. The Senate on Wednesday approved its own version on third and final reading. The Senate version would first be enrolled by the House before it is transmitted to Malacanang, either for approval or veto of President Aquino. The anti-bullying measure was approved by the 15th Congress before it adjourned sine die on Thursday. Outgoing senator Edgardo Angara, chairman of the Committee on Education, Arts and Culture and sponsor of the bill, said the proposed measure is a combination of House Bill 5496 and the Senate versions authored by himself, Senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Miriam Defensor-Santiago. Angara said there is no reason for school authorities and societies to tolerate bullying because it traumatizes and in extreme cases, drive children to suicide. He cited the findings of a research which showed that at least one-third of the students in the Philippines or about 2.5 million children were verbally or physically bullied. He said the Department of Education, between May and August 2012 or within a three-month period, received reports of 112 cases of child abuse and related complaints in its central office in Pasig City.
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