Child rights groups push bill banning corporal punishment
Child rights advocates have called on President Aquino to help put an end to corporal punishment in the country by urging Congress to finally pass a bill imposing a ban and encouraging positive discipline instead.
In an open letter sent to Malacañang in time for Aquino’s State of the Nation Address on Monday, Save the Children and other prochild groups said that due to lack of such a law, children in the country remained vulnerable to physical and emotional punishment.
The nongovernment organization said that a Pulse Asia survey conducted in 2011 showed that two out of three parents admitted to disciplining their children below 16 years old through corporal punishment—ranging from pinching and spanking to whipping with a belt. Save the Children added that in its 2005 study, it discovered that 85 percent of Filipino kids were punished at home.
Along with five other child rights group, the NGO said that the passage of the Anticorporal Punishment and Positive Discipline bill would not only end corporal punishment but also “help adults become more informed on why punishing a child is wrong.”
It will also teach adults “the proper way of disciplining a child without causing him harm” while making parents “grow closer with their child,” it added.
The 13 children who are members of the child rights groups that helped draft the open letter sent to Aquino last week said that banning corporal punishment would allow a child “to develop more his abilities because he will not be afraid to try and learn.”
“A child will no longer lie because he is not afraid anymore to express his thoughts and feelings. A child will feel more his parents’ love for him and make him closer to them, effectively keeping him away from doing bad things. [And children] will have a better role model, decreasing the chances of them imposing in the future corporal punishment on [their own] children,” they said.
They added that since the bill which they hoped would be passed into law before the 2016 elections encouraged positive discipline, it could also become a tool to reduce the number of children involved in crimes since adults would be able to guide them properly.
Save the Children noted that over 100 studies had said that corporal punishment has “no long-term positive effect” on kids, adding that it even affects a child’s social relationship negatively, making him prone to aggression and criminal acts. It also leads to their poor cognitive development which will result in a lackluster academic performance.
House Bill 4907, or the “Positive Discipline Act,” was passed by the House of Representatives last year. It remains pending in the Senate committee on women, family relations and gender equality.
Save the Children said that while the country has in place Republic Act 7610, or the “Special Protection of Children aAgainst Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act,” it does “not explicitly ban corporal punishment in all settings.”
It noted that the anticorporal punishment bill was not aimed at punishing parents but “to send a clear message that violence against children is not to be tolerated and that there are many effective ways of disciplining children other than hurting or punishing them.”
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