Not the parents
Last Saturday, the president of the Ateneo Law Alumni Association Inc., lawyer Lila Quirino with former law dean Fr. Joaquin Bernas paid the Cebu chapter a visit and dined with alumni members like former Cebu City mayor Alvin Garcia and former congressman Raul del Mar at Harold’s Hotel.
Quirino was a classmate of mine at the Ateneo and is now connected with the ACCRA law firm. She has been alumni president for three years now. I also met another classmate, lawyer Leo Dolino who is now a city councilor of Toledo City, but we missed the company of another classmate, Judge Soliver Peras.
The dinner was sponsored by lawyer Ronnie Silvestre of the Bureau of Customs who belongs to the class of 1985. We would like to thank him for his generosity and kindness in hosting the gathering. We agreed that the Cebu chapter should be reorganized to make it active and vibrant.
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Last week the Cebu City Council finally passed the proposed ordinance to ban and penalize corporal punishment of children to reinforce the anti-child abuse law of our country. The ordinance forbids the use of degrading and humiliating punishment on children by their parents, relatives and any adult.
The law was enacted to correct some parents who actually punish their children severely to the extent that it injures, humiliates and degrades minors. On the street, we often see a mother or father shouting at a child and using foul language. Some parents spank their children with their bare hand, a belt or anything they can get hold of. Sometimes a child is kicked by the parent as a means to show disapproval for the child’s behavior.
Some parents say this is the only way the misbehaving children can be disciplined.
Well, I think the parents should be able to distinguish between discipline and punishment. There is no questionthat it is the right of the parents to instill discipline in their children but it is wrong to punish kids in demeaning ways.
Remember that parents were once children who did practically the kind of mischief many children are doing.
If a child does wrong, he or she should be told that what they are doing is bad. Perhaps we got used to being punished without being told that what we did was wrong and realized our faults only after we were got a spanking. Today as the world recognizes the rights of children, parents should know how to reinvent themselves especially in dealing with misbehaving children.
It is important for us to talk with and listen to all our children and treat them as we treat our fellow adults.There are many positive ways to correct a misbehaving child. I know we do not want to hurt the child that we love so much.
The only objection that I have against the Cebu City ordinance is that it seeks to penalize parents who violate the law. The proper thing to do is to send parents to a counselor. The public, especially parents, should first be educated about the ordinance and why it is wrong to punish children in humiliating and degrading ways.
It would be dangerous if parents are sent to jail and fined for committing the prohibited acts. That would only exacerbate the problem.
The proposed ordinance is drawing many objections from the public because it is perceived as interfering with the right of parents to discipline their children.
It is hoped that Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama will veto the provision on penalizing the parents.
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