MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The House committee on welfare of children has approved a measure that would prohibit corporal punishment of children at home, in schools, and other institutions.
The panel tackled House Bill (HB) No 516 or The Positive and Non-Violent Discipline of Children Act on Monday, January 31.
While HB 516 got the nod of the committee members, congressmen decided to adopt the 3rd reading version from the previous 16th Congress as substitute bill to the bill, authored by Bagong Henerasyon Representative Bernadette Herrera-Dy.
In the 16th Congress, the House approved on 3rd and final reading HB 4907, but it was not passed by the Senate.
Under the bill, a person who resorts to physical means to discipline a child stands to face penalties prescribed in existing laws, including imprisonment for one month and one day up to 6 months.
A 2011 Pulse Asia Survey revealed that two in 3 Filipino parents resort to corporal punishment to discipline children 16 years old and below.
Among the findings of a 2005 Save the Children study is that 85% of children admitted they were punished at home, while 82% said they were hit on different parts of the body. (READ: Study shows spanking boosts odds of mental illness)
The House measure now proposes several “positive and non-violent” ways to discipline children, including “controlling anger and avoiding threats of hitting, taking away love, scaring them with monsters or other things that children are fearful of.” (READ: The power of positive parenting on children)
“A comprehensive program shall be formulated and implemented to promote positive and non-violent discipline instead of corporal punishment of children,” said the bill, which also seeks to mandate a nationwide information dissemination promoting the practice of positive discipline on children.
During the committee meeting, Herrera-Dy said that now is the time for the public to recognize how physical punishment is ineffective in disciplining children.
“Most often, corporal punishment only produces anger, resentment and low esteem among children. Furthermore, it only teaches the child that violence is an acceptable behavior and something worthy of emulation,” she said.