Lawmakers urged to discuss Anti-Corporal Punishment Bill
by Vigie Benosa-Llorin
Davao City (6 February) -- A group of child rights advocates called on lawmakers to expedite the enactment of a bill that will legally ban all forms of corporal punishment of children.
In a dialogue with Rep. Giorgidi Aggabao, chair of House Committee on Revision of Laws, advocates from the Child Rights Network (CRN) implored that approval into law of the Anti-Corporal Punishment bill authored by Rep. Nikki Prieto-Teodoro of Tarlac, will prohibit corporal and humiliating or degrading punishment of children in the home, schools, childcare institutions and in all other settings.
Ms. Hope Tura, co-convenor of CRN said that the bill would address the limitations of current laws in dealing with the issue of corporal punishment especially in the home. "Despite existing laws that provide protection to children, there is no law that explicitly bans the corporal punishment of children particularly in the family setting," she said.
Ms. Rowena Cordero, Country Director of Save the Children revealed that 85% of Filipino children surveyed in 2005 reported being punished in the home; while 82% admitted that they were hit in different parts of their body.
"Studies around the world have shown that corporal punishment does more harm than good. It hurts children physically and emotionally, destroys their self-confidence, damages their relationship with their parents or guardians, and instills fear, mistrust and hatred. Corporal punishment also teaches children that it is acceptable to use violence to resolve conflicts and control others. More importantly, corporal punishment violates the rights of children. Like adults, children have equal rights to physical integrity and human dignity," Cordero added.
Corporal punishment kills thousands of children each year and injures and handicaps many more. Citing reports on Violence and Health by the World Health Organization, CRN said that corporal punishment was shown to be a significant factor in the development of violent behavior.
The Anti-Corporal Punishment Bill proposes to institutionalize the promotion of positive discipline and non-violent child rearing. "Parents, teachers and every person exercising parental authority must exercise positive discipline to children in guiding their behavior while respecting their rights to healthy development and protection from violence", Ms. Tura concludes.
CRN members include the Child Protection Unit Network, Christian Children's Fund, Council on the Welfare of Children, Lunduyan Foundation, Parenting Foundation Inc., CRIBS Foundation, Education Network, Parenting Foundation, Plan Philippines, Philippine Legislators' Committee on Population and Development Foundation, Philippine Pediatric Society, Save the Children, UNICEF and World Vision. (PLCPD/PIA XI) [top]