Strengthening Forces to Address SOGIE-based Bullying in Philippine schools
Government, civil society organizations and academics joint forces to address SOGIE-based bullying in schools. All have one common vision, i.e. to make all schools safe for all including LGBTI children and youth.
Recently, the National Consultation on SOGIE-based Bullying in the Philippine Education Setting was held last August 23 to 24, 2016 in Quezon City, Philippines. This event was jointly organized by the Philippine Civil Society Coalition on the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CSC-CRC), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Department of Education, ASEAN SOGIE Caucus and TLF Share. Around 80 participants from the government, civil society organisations, private educational institutions, academe and LGBT organisations from all over the Philippines gathered for this two-day national event.
The first day focused on information exchange on the current situation, existing laws, policies and programs of government, civil society and private sector in addressing SOGIE-based school bullying. On the government’s side, Department of Education Undersecretary Albert Muyot presented a collection of the agencies interventions and achievements in addressing the issue at hand. Usec. Muyot emphasized that child protection policy frameworks exists and these can be used as a basis to protect children from SOGIE-based discrimination and violence. On the other hand, Rep. Kaka Bag-ao discussed the salient features of the Anti-Discrimination Bill and requested support from the participants to advocate for the passing of the bill. Ging Cristobal of the QC Pride Council provided a glimpse on how the Quezon City local government crafted its anti-discrimination ordinance and subsequent implementation. Civil society experts from Galang Philippines, ChildFund and TLF-Share Collective presented their current programs in response to the issue. As one of the highlights of the day children were also invited to share their own experiences of SOGIE-based bullying and contribute their own recommendations to the public and private sector.
The second day puts a spotlight on a series of workshops that seek to indentify gaps, challenges, good practices and lessons learned on SOGIE-based bullying. At the end of the day, participants were able to generate input and develop recommendations on policy, legal and regulatory environment on SOGIE-based bullying; awareness-raising and capacity building activities for key stakeholders; support for learners to address SOGIE-based bullying and other SRGBV (school-related gender-based violence) and Institutional Partnerships; research agenda, performance monitoring and documentation of good practices and teacher training, support and school curriculum to eliminate SOGIE-based bullying in the education setting. The end of the national consultation marked the beginning of a nationwide, multi-sectoral commitment on the prevention and elimination of SOGIE-based bullying. The technical working group that will ensure commitments on the elimination of SOGIE-based bullying and other forms of SRGBV are acted upon opened its doors for more members for increased participation.