CHR supports anti-spanking ordinanceBy Edison delos Angeles
Cebu Daily News
THE approved Cebu City Council anti-corporal punishment ordinance received a boost from the Commission on Human Rights and sectoral groups.
Advocates against child spanking are also appealing to an ally of Mayor Michael Rama, City Councilor Edgar Labella, to convince the mayor not to veto the approved city ordinance.
CHR regional director Alejandro Alonso said the ordinance was in compliance with human rights standards and should be implemented.
“When the ordinance was approved, we were happy at CHR . There is a policy by the commission to localize policy when it comes to human rights,” he said.
Alonso was among the speakers in a press conference held at the city hall legislative building yesterday to clarify “misconception” on the anti-corporal punishment ordinance which the City Council passed on June 27.
Dr. Erlinda Mergo, of Department of Education (DepEd) of Cebu City, said that the city’s anti-corporal punishment ordinance is a boost to an order from the DepEd central office which ordered all principals and teachers to adopt their child protection policy.
Mergo said they have been campaigning for the adoption of the DepEd order in all city schools starting on June 25.
“We adhere to the idea that discipline should not be through corporal punishment,” she said.
Mayor Michael Rama said during his State of the City Address last Monday that he intends to veto the ordinance because it was “anti-poor”.
Rama said he was also opposed to the idea of penalizing parents for resorting to spanking or any form of corporal punishment when disciplining their children.
Meanwhile Liza Tumulak of Lihok Filipina yesterday asked councilor Labella to help them lobby with Rama to approve of the anti-corporal punishment ordinance.
She said that Labella had told Lihok Filipina last June 15 that he will help support the passage of ordinance.
“When we lobbied the councilors for passage of the ordinance, we went to Labella. We are counting on councilor Labella to help us convince the mayor,” said Tumulak.
Councilor Leah Japson clarified yesterday that the anti-corporal punishment ordinance does not necessarily prohibit parents from imposing discipline on their children.
“This is to promote positive discipline. Of course parents are not stopped from disciplining their children, but in a positive way,” said Japson, the main author of the t ordinance.
“Ang atong gi-advocate nga anam anam ug ka wagtang ang corporal punishment and replace this with positive discipline,” she added.
(What we are advocating is the gradual phase out of the practice of corporal punishment.)
Japson also clarified that imposition of penalties will not be automatic.
Sec 6 and 8 of ordinance provides a process where the parent and his child are made to undergo a process of counseling by the Department of Social Welfare and Services.
Councilor Alvin Dizon, a co-author of the ordinance, said they wanted to wait for Rama’s veto letter before they decide what to do with it.
The 10-day period for the mayor to act on the ordinance expire on July 7, 2012.
Councilor Margot Osmeña said it would be best for Rama to read the approved ordinance first before making any judgement.
Rama said in a separate interview that if the City Council is really determined about it, they can always exercise their power to override the mayor’s veto.