The Country Needs a Law to Ban Corporal Punishment, says Advocates

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An advocacy group working for the advancement of various population and human development issues says a law that will provide the mechanisms and structures on how to prevent corporal punishment in all settings, especially in homes, is seriously needed by the country.


House Bill 4455 titled An Act Promoting Positive and Non-Violent Discipline of Children, authored by Rep. Bernadette Herrera of the Party List Bagong Henerasyon and Rep. Susan Yap of the 2nd District of Tarlac among others, was passed in the House of Representatives in August 2011. However, its counterpart in the Senate has yet to see the light of the day. Senate Bill 873 filed by Sen. Jinggoy Estrada and the transmitted version of the approved House bill have been pending in the Committee of Youth, Women and Family Relations chaired by Sen. Pia Cayetano.


The bill seeks for the promotion of positive discipline, or an approach seeking to immediately correct the behavior of a child, to teach a lesson, to give tools that build self discipline and emotional control, and to build a good relationship with the child by understanding the child’s needs and capabilities at various ages and the behavior that is usual for a child at each stage of development.


“We are against corporal punishment or the use of physical, emotional and psychological form of disciplining our children as it is not only a violation of children’s rights to respect for physical integrity, human dignity and equal protection under the law but more so because it teaches children that violence is an acceptable and correct way for resolving conflict or getting people to do what they want,” explains Romeo Dongeto, Philippine Legislators Committee on Population and Development Foundation (PLCPD) Executive Director.

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“Corporal punishment in the Philippines is an intergenerational practice and should be stopped”, Dongeto stressed.  A 2011 Pulse Asia Perception Survey reveals that 2 out of 3 parents use corporal punishment to discipline their children while 9 out of 10 parents who practice corporal punishment say that it was also used by their parents to discipline them.


“While there are a number of organizations, such as Save the Children, Plan Philippines, Lunduyan, Saligan, UNICEF among many other organizations, working for the promotion of positive discipline, these efforts are temporary, fragmented and short lived. A national law once enacted will mandate government agencies to introduce positive discipline as an approach in rearing Filipino children.”


The Child Rights Network, a coalition of more than 60 non-government and civil society organizations working for the protection and advancement of the rights of the Filipino children, has been pushing for the enactment of HB 4455 or the “Positive and Nonviolent Discipline of Children Act.”


This is a press release from the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development.

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