Many of our laws are copied or mimicries from American laws.Â Since we use the English language in school and used American books, we always take it for granted that what is stated in American books are also applicable to the Filipinos.Â We forget to consider that our native languages are the conveyors of our culture that might not be the same as the Americans.
Among the recently passed laws is the Anti-Bullying Law.Â It is now a crime if you will bully another person.Â However, in our culture there are many shades or levels of bullying.Â Many of these levels are considered harmless and in fact useful for the discipline of children and other people.Â Only very few types of bullying are considered harmful and ought to be punished.
However our Anti-Bullying Law copied from the Americans, do not differentiate the harmless types from the harmful type of bullying.Â Since our Courts of Law are interpreting our laws based on American jurisprudence, many are found guilty even if what was done was allowable in our culture.
A bully is a person who terrorizes the weak.Â Our equivalent words in BinisayÃ¢ are â€œmarÃ¡mÃ â€ and â€œmatÃ³nâ€.Â The marÃ¡mÃ is an Arabic word for bully while matÃ³n is a Spanish word for bully.
The SugboÃ¡non BisÃ¡yÃ has also the words batÃ³d, bÃ¡gis, bugÃ³y, haring gÃ¡ngis, sÃgÃ , and tigÃ¡s.
The batÃ³d, bÃ¡gis, and bugÃ³y are bullies that are more of a prankster and are not dangerous.Â The haring gÃ¡ngis is more like a notable or notorious person in a locality.Â It could be applied for good and not so good persons.Â The sÃgÃ and the tigÃ¡s are the bullies that are dangerous.
The trouble is that the law does not distinguish the different kinds of bullies because in the English language there are no different shades of bullies.Â I just hope that the Court Judge will be conscious of his Bisayan culture and applies the law in accordance to our culture.
Bullying is the act of terrorizing the weak.Â In our culture it can be used to reprimand or to molest.
In BinisayÃ¢ there are three levels of bullying, which are the SulÃmbat, the Hurat, and the Huraw.
The sulÃmbat is similar to that done by a mother to her child by giving a stern look, a grimacing face, and sometimes with a growl.Â It is usually done as a reprimand.Â Any Boholano child can look at his mother and can distinguish whether the sulÃmbat is just a joke, a warning, or a reprimand.Â In the American context that we copied in our laws, it is already bullying with the same level of punishment as the other levels.
A hÃºrat is just a threat with no intention to harm.Â It is similar to the English adage of â€œSaber rattlingâ€.Â It could be a menacing situation but the doer does not really intend to harm but only to scare or do a prank.
A hÃºraw is the real bullying in the Bisayan context.Â It is a terrorizing act that will be put into action if the terrorized person will resist.Â When we say â€œNanghÃºraw si Pedro didto sa tulunghaÃ¡n = Pedro did a bullying act at schoolâ€ it connotes that Pedro threatened the children in school and actually molested those who resisted.
Sometime in year 2000 we conducted a research among the parents in all the towns of Bohol. We took about 17,000 samples.
The parents (84% to 98%) were still agreeable with the sulÃmbat and hÃºrat done by teachers because they knew that it was for the discipline of the children.Â The parents were no longer agreeable with the hÃºraw, especially when the teacher will actually strike or beat the child.
In the Anti-Bullying Law a sulÃmbat is already punishable with the same severity as a hÃºraw.
I am not against an Anti-Bullying Law.Â What I want to see is a law that is culturally sensitive.Â It should not be copied hook-line-and-sinker from that of the Americans.
A sulÃmbat is still acceptable in our culture because it can only be a joke, a prank, or a mild reprimand.Â It is only at the level of a menacing look. (By Jes B. Tirol)