MANILA, Philippines – The Senate on Monday, October 8, approved the bill seeking to ban corporal punishment against children.
Senate Bill 1477, or the Positive Discipline of Children Act, seeks to protect minors from all forms of physical and mental violence by prohibiting beating, kicking, slapping, lashing on any part of a child’s body, with or without the use of an instrument.
The bill also seeks to prohibit verbal abuse or assaults, including intimidation or threat, swearing or cursing, ridiculing or denigrating a child or making him look foolish in front of his peers or the public.
Senator Risa Hontiveros, chair of the committee on women, children, family relations, and gender equality and one of the bill sponsors, welcomed the bill’s passage. She said the measure seeks to develop a comprehensive program to provide parents and guardian with adequate parenting tools and learning resources for a non-violent way of disciplining children.
“Corporal punishment, while seemingly benign, poses a serious danger not only because of its prevalence in our households and communities but because of its appearance of inoffensiveness,” Hontiveros said.
Aside from Hontiveros, the measure was introduced by Senators Grace Poe, Maria Lourdes Nancy Binay and Leila de Lima. (READ: Female senators: Ban corporal punishment in PH homes, schools)
For first offense, a written citation from the barangay will be given to the parent, guardian or concerned adult, ordering him or her to stop and refrain from using corporal punishment. A mediation and reconciliation meeting should then be conducted.
For the second offense, parents, guardians or adults will be given another citation and required to attend counselling and positive discipline seminar.
For the third offense, the Barangay Council for the Protection of Children, through the barangay chair, would initiate and file the necessary complaint against the parent, guardian or adult.
If the offender has been previously charged under this measure, the court may suspend his or her parental authority based on provisions in The Family Code of the Philippines.
A counterpart measure, House Bill 8329, remained pending with the House committee on rules as of September 26, 2018, according to the House of Representatives’ website.
Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email firstname.lastname@example.org