Bill seeks to ban corporal punishment to discipline children

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AP/BULLIT MARQUEZ

MANILA, Philippines—A bill, seeking to penalize all  forms of “humiliating  or degrading” punishments to discipline  a child such as pinching, pulling ears or hair, scolding and yelling  even  at home or inside  schools and  other institutions, has been filed at the Senate.

The proposal was contained in the bill known as the Anti-Corporal Punishment Act of 2013 filed by neophyte Senator   Maria Lourdes  “Nancy” Binay early this  week.

Under the bill, all corporal punishment and all other forms of humiliating or degrading

punishments of children would be prohibited “at home, at school, in institutions, at alternative

care systems, in employment and at all other settings.”

The corporal punishments prohibited under the proposed   measure are the following:

  • Blows to any part of a child’s body, such as beating; kicking; hitting; slapping; lashing; with or without the use of an instrument such as a cane, shoes, broom, stick, whip or belt.
  • Pinching; pulling ears or hair; shaking; twisting joints; cutting and shaving hair; cutting or piercing skin; carrying, dragging or throwing a child.
  • Verbally abusing, scolding, yelling, swearing, ridiculing or denigrating
  • Forcing a child, through the use of power, authority or threats, to perform physically painful or damaging acts, such as holding a weight or weights for an extended period; kneeling on stones, salt or pebbles; squatting; standing or sitting in a contorted position.
  • Deliberately neglecting a child’s physical needs, where this is intended as punishment.
  • Using external substances, such as burning or freezing materials, water, smoke, pepper, alcohol, excrement or urine.
  • Forcing a child to perform hazardous tasks as punishment or for the purpose of discipline, including those that are beyond a child’s strength or  bringing him or her into contact with dangerous or unhygienic substances; such tasks include sweeping or digging in the hot sun or rain; using bleach or insecticides; unprotected cleaning of toilets.
  • Confining a child in a contained or enclosed space, confinement, including being shut in a confined space or material, tied up, or forced to remain in one place for an extended period of time.
  • Any threat of physical punishment.
  • Any other physical act perpetrated on a child’s body, for the purpose of punishment or discipline, intended to cause some degree of pain or discomfort, however light;
  • Verbally assaulting, threatening or intimidating a child.
  • Making a child look or feel foolish in front of one’s peers or the public; and
  • Other acts or words belittling, humiliating, blaming, ignoring or isolating the child.

Any of the said  corporal  punishments, the  bill said, must not  be  used to discipline a person, who is below 18 years of age or those over “but are unable to fully take care of themselves or protect themselves from abuse, neglect, cruelty, exploitation or discrimination because of a physical or mental disability or condition.”

Parents, babysitters, housemaids and caregivers, foster parents, guardians, relatives who have custody of the child, or other persons legally responsible for the child, who inflict corporal punishment or humiliating or degrading punishment on the child would be liable in accordance with existing penal laws, said the  bill.

“If the offender is the parent or a person exercising parental authority, the court may suspend parental authority in accordance with Executive Order No. 209, as amended, otherwise known as the “Family Code of the Philippines,”  it said.

“If any of the acts prohibited under this Act is committed by a student in an educational institution, the school official and administrators shall be held responsible as if it were themselves who committed the act,” it further said.

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