Monday, August 8, 2011

Anti-spanking Bill Passes in PH House

Learning by example
(Comments below post)

I just have to give a round of applause and a thumbs-up to the Philippine House of Representatives for its recent (6 Aug.) passage of HB 4455: the Positive and Non-violent Discipline on Children Act. When it comes to Philippine politics, my posts often deal with negative aspects, bad policies and outdated laws. That's why it was so refreshing -- and a cause for praise -- to learn of this bill's passage on its third and final reading.

HB 4455 would prohibit parents, guardians, teachers, and elders from subjecting children to physical punishment and psychological threats as a means to discipline, train, or control the child.

Rep. Susan Yap, one of the bill's authors, has said that corporal punishment does little more than instill an acceptance of domestic violence in children. It confuses them because the ones they rely on for love and guidance are allowed to physically hurt and abuse them in the guise of "discipline." I couldn't agree with her more.

Let's now hope that the Senate does the right thing and follows the lead of the House in passing the bill's Senate counterpart.

If the bill passes the Senate and receives the president's signature, hitting, slapping, beating, and lashing a child would be a criminal offense. Also banned would be pinching (kurot), pulling of the ears (pengot) or hair (sabunot), cutting or shaving of hair as punishment/humiliation, as well as spanking with a hand and whipping with a belt.  Forcing a child to kneel on stones or squat would also be prohibited.  This would also have a major and positive impact on the many gay and lesbian children and minors who are routinely punished or humiliated by their parent/s for either not being "manly" enough, not being "girly" enough, or for having gender identity questions.

Corporal punishment is not okay -- not ever -- and I applaud the Philippine House of Representatives for passing this progressive piece of legislation.  Good on you, Congresspersons!

For a more opinionated view on this, and my collective response to some of the comments below, you can check out my Spanking in the Philippines post.


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