Child rights advocates push for law banning corporal punishment

By Alexander Villafania

QUEZON CITY, METRO MANILA—Corporal punishment or inflicting physical pain as punishment is said to have both short and long term negative effects on a child's behavior.

Advocates against it are pushing for the passage of a bill that bans corporal punishment, stating that parents must learn to use positive discipline approaches to help children grow up better.

Members of the Philippine Legislators Committee on Population and Development Foundation (PLCPD), largely a group of lawmakers, said that a law is needed to ensure that parents practice non-violent forms of disciplining their children.

The group is pushing for House Bill 4455 authored by Tarlac Rep. Susan Yap or the “Act Promoting Positive and Non-Violent Discipline of Children.”

The said bill passed the third and final reading at the House of Representatives in August 2011. The Senate version namely Senate Bill 1812 authored by Senator Manuel Villar, has yet to pass committee hearing, said PLCPD executive director Romeo Dongeto.

It has been common practice among Filipinos to practice corporal punishment as a form of punishment but this has to stop to prevent generations of physically abused Filipinos from becoming delinquents, said Dongeto.

“We are against the use of physical, emotional and psychological form of disciplining our children as it is not only violation of children’s rights but also of respect for physical integrity, human dignity, and equal protection,” the official said.

“It is an intergenerational practice and should be stopped,” Dongeto said.

A report by the United Nations Children’s Fund notes on the effects of corporal punishment on both the child and society.

Among its negative effects include low self-esteem, interferes with the learning process, and hampers capacity to understand the relationship between behavior and consequences. It also stimulates anger, makes a child feel lonely, sad and abandoned.

Only a few countries have abolished corporal punishment, including Canada, Kenya South Africa, New Zealand, and almost all countries in Europe except France.

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