Domestic violence: Kapunan for tougher law, Baligod for values formation
MANILA, Philippines – Lawyers Lorna Kapunan and Levi Baligod agree it is important to improve the plight of victims of domestic violence in the Philippines, but they have different ideas of how to do this if they are elected to the Senate.
Kapunan, a human rights lawyer, said the immediate solution is a legislation that would create more family courts and specialized courts that would tackle domestic violence cases.
She also wants tougher penalties on perpetrators of domestic violence.
"[Under] the domestic violence law, napakaliit ng penalty. I think we should amend to increase the penalty more, especially for economic violence," the lawyer said on Friday, April 8, during Rappler's first senatorial debate held at AMA University in Quezon City.
(Under the domestic violence law, the penalty is very small. I think we should amend to increase the penalty more, especially for economic violence.)
She added: "The solution there is to stiffen the penalties for economic violence, which is failure to give support, so that women will feel more empowered and feel they can leave husbands without sacrificing the benefit and welfare of their children."
The number of cases of violence against women reported to the Philippine National Police has increased by over 500% in the past 16 years, based on 2013 figures.
But Baligod said the country already has laws that penalize domestic violence. For him, "hindi solusyon ang ipagbawal ang pagbugbog (it's not a solution to ban violence)" because violence is a "function of one's character."
"Economic [situation] hindi sapat na dahilan para bugbugin ang asawa. Maraming naghihirap pero hindi [nangbubugbog], dahil siguro sa upbringing," he added.
(Economic situation is not enough reason to commit violence against your spouse. Many couples are poor, but their spouses don't hurt them, maybe because of their upbringing.)
His suggestion is to emphasize values formation in the country's basic education curriculum.
"Build a strong moral character in every child, para dala-dala niya moral character paglaki niya (so that he can bring that moral character with him when he grows up)," he added.
Kapunan responded to Baligod, saying that teaching values formation is difficult when the country's own leaders are corrupt and do not know the distinction between right and wrong.
"Sasabihin mo sa anak mo bawal magnakaw, mangurakot, magbugbog ng asawa…. Values formation? Bakit 'yung mga leaders ba natin may values? Sino'ng susundin natin kung ganyan mga leaders natin?"
(You're telling your children not to steal, not to be corrupt, or not to hit their spouse.... Values formation? Do our leaders have values? Who do we listen to if our leaders are like that?)
She reiterated the need to penalize abusers and those who commit violence against women. – Rappler.com
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