Senate OKs bill prohibiting corporal punishment for minors
The Senate has approved on its third and final reading a bill seeking to prohibit corporal punishment for children below 18 years old in order to protect minors from all forms of physical and mental abuse.
Senate Bill No. 1477, also known as an Act Promoting Positive and Non-Violent Discipline of Children, aims to protect children 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 such as broom, cane, whip or belt.
Senator Risa Hontiveros, a sponsor of the bill, said the proposed measure targets to develop a program that provides parents with parenting tools and learning resources in disciplining children in a positive and non-violent way.
Other sponsors of the bill are Senators Grace Poe, Nancy Binay and Leila de Lima.
“This bill seeks to develop a comprehensive program to provide parents and those who exercise parental authority over children with adequate parenting tools and learning resources in employing a positive and non-violent way of disciplining children,” Hontiveros said in a statement on Monday.
The corporal punishments prohibited under the bill include the following:
- Pulling of child’s hair
- Shaking, twisting of joints
- Cutting or piercing the skin
- Dragging or throwing a child
- Forcing the child to perform physically painful or damaging acts such as squatting, standing, or siting in a contorted position, holding weight or weights for an extended period, kneeling on stones, salt or pebbles
- Verbal abuse or assaults, including intimidation or threat or bodily harm, swearing, or cursing
- Ridiculing or denigrating a child or making look foolish in front of his peers
- Imprisonment of the child
- Exposure to substances that could cause discomfort or threaten the child’s health including fire, ice, water, smoke, pepper, alcohol or dangerous chemicals such as bleach or insecticides, excrement or urine
- Tying up a child
“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.
Under the bill, the parent or guardian or the adult concerned who would be found handing corporal punishment to a minor shall be given a written citation by the barangay chairperson or his representative, saying the parent should stop from using corporal punishment for the first offense.
On second offense, parents, guardians or adults will be given another citation and required to attend counseling and positive discipline seminar as well.
On third offense, the Barangay Council for the Protection of Children, through the barangay chairperson, will initiate and file the necessary complaint against the parent, guardian or adult before law enforcement authorities.
A mediation and reconciliation meeting should also be conducted for all levels of offenses, the bill also noted.
“This bill aims to set the standards of behavior to use non-violent means of discipline and help parents utilize positive discipline instead of punishments,” Hontiveros said. /kga
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