Replace ordinance, council toldBy Edison A. Delos Angeles
Cebu Daily News
Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama said he wants the City Council to pass another ordinance to replace the “anti-spanking” ordinance they passed two weeks ago.
“When I issue my veto, that doesn’t mean that is already the end of the ordinance. The council can always reintroduce a better ordinance,” he said.
Rama has until July 14 to issue his veto on the council-approved ordinance against corporal punishment.
A “corrective” rather than a “punitive” ordinance is needed to educate Cebu City parents on positive discipline for their children, the mayor said.
Rama said he presented a copy of the ordinance to 22 City Hall department heads in last Wednesday’s meeting and that most of them expressed their reservations about it.
“If parents are jailed, who will care for their children?” he quoted some of them as saying.
The ordinance prohibits parents, teachers, or other individuals from causing physical or psychological harm to children in their method of discipline. While first offenders will be made to undergo counselling, repeat offenders face a P5,000 fine or up to six months imprisonment.
Councilor Leah Japson, one of the sponsors, said the ordinance doesn’t focus on penalizing parents.
She said it would instead teach them to adopt non-violent means of disciplining their children. Japson said the ordinance is only given a negative connotation because it is referred to as the “anti-corporal punishment ordinance”.
“The people are confused because of the use of the term,” she said.
Japson said she welcomes suggestions including those from Mayor Rama on how to improve the ordinance.
“I want to see if the mayor has a good reason to change the ordinance or if there’s a provision to be inserted,” she said.
Rama said the ordinance doesn’t mention how positive discipline should be done. He also expressed concern that there was no distinction on degrees of gravity of the offense to be penalized.