Makati Congressman Monsour Del Rosario and former Manila Councilor Ali Atienza, two prominent personalities who have become synonymous to taekwondo in the Philippines for having brought pride and honor via the sports, have expressed deep concern and sadness over the use of the sport they love so much as a means for a violent form of bullying.
I am of course talking about the videos -- there were three so far, that I have watched fully -- which showed the now infamous Ateneo de Manila Junior High School student bullying three different schoolmates in separate places within the school premises and on three various occasions.
Atienza, former Presidential Adviser on Youth Affairs from 2005 to 2007 and head of the Manila sports development office and inner city development program from 2001 to 2007, is an Asian Taekwondo hall of famer who first gained fame as the lone gold medalist in the 1994 Asian Taekwondo Championships at the age of 21, becoming the second Filipino to win a gold medal in the Asian Taekwondo Games. He is now running for fifth district Congressman in Manila.
Now a vice mayoral candidate in Makati City, Del Rosario, on the other hand, is the Philippine Taekwondo Association Secretary General and a Philippine Olympic National Sports Association Martial Arts Council member, who earned a gold medal in the 14th and 15th Southeast Asian Games, a bronze medal in the 10th Asian Games and established the Olympians Taekwondo Training Center in Taguig.
Both lovers of the sport and the ideals that it carries, they have supported the decision of the Ateneo de Manila University to impose the penalty of ‘dismissal’ and the indefinite ban by the Philippine Taekwondo Association (PTA) on the said student, said to be a blackbelt and a medalist. The ban includes all events sanctioned by the national federation -- not limited to taekwondo events, but also belt promotions, tournaments, or facilities of member-institutions.
Atienza said, ‘it is a painful fact that bullying happens everywhere. Whether it happens inside the school or in the streets, it should be stopped. Growing up in the streets of San Andres Bukid, I saw that and I understand the emotional anger of parents as I am also a parent. And presently, the tide has turned, the bully and his family are now being bullied.
The sequence of events that took place recently demonstrates the social environment that a lot of our youth experience everyday, since time immemorial. I will never tolerate bullies but what’s disturbing also is the widespread public condemnation of an unthinking child behaviour,’ said Atienza. ‘Kahit saang angulo tignan, mali ang ginawa ng batang bully. Habang libre tayong magsabi ng kanya-kanyang opinion, dapat din tayong mag-ingat dahil mga menor de edad ang mga sangkot at habambuhay nilang dadalhin ang trauma na ito. Kaya kailangan maghanap tayo ng solusyon para maiwasan ang ganitong klaseng sitwasyon,’ Atienza further said, adding that the sport has never been designed to be used as a means to trample on others’ rights.
Del Rosario, for his part, strongly addressed the bully’s parents, albeit rightly so, saying: ‘Yes, none of us is perfect. We’ve all made mistakes and should not judge people loosely. But to the parents of the bully, let’s be very clear here. This is as firm a judgement as you will ever get from me: Your son is a FAILED representation of our beautiful sport. Every aspect of the viral video was hideous, weak and unacceptable. RAISE YOUR CHILDREN BETTER. LET’S ALL RAISE OUR CHILDREN TO BE BETTER. LET’S RAISE OUR SONS, PARTICULARLY THOSE IN THE MARTIAL ARTS, TO BE GOOD MEN’.
Indeed, the bully may be a minor but his behaviour, the kind of language he used, his determination to inflict injury on innocent fellow students and lack of any remorse even at the sight of blood on his helpless victim based on the videos I’ve seen, are just appalling. I shudder at the thought of how many more he has victimized but have not come out in the open and what further damage to others he could have done if he were not stopped on his tracks.
To those who come to his defense on account of his being a minor, would you have said the same thing if the victim were your own child or brother??
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