Stakeholders ‘split’ on punishment ordinance-A A +A
Thursday, March 15, 2012
A CEBU City councilor has filed an ordinance that seeks to ban corporal punishment in the city.
The proposed legislation quickly drew mixed reactions from various stakeholders.
Councilor Lea Japson filed before the City Council “An Ordinance Protecting the Right of a Child against Corporal Punishment and All Other Forms of Degrading and Humiliating Punishment and Providing Penalties Thereof.”
The ordinance penalizes parents, teachers, housemaids and relatives, among others, who verbally assault, threaten, intimidate, verbally abuse, or scold, yell and swear at, and make the child look or feel foolish in front of one’s peers or the public.
During the public hearing yesterday, Arturo Tangal of the Cebu City Private School’s Administrator’s Association opposed the provision that penalizes parents who discipline their children.
“The parents should be excluded from the ordinance because disciplining the child is a delegated authority to them. If we pass the ordinance as is, it in effect, takes away the right of the parents to discipline their children,” he said.
Tangal, a pastor, said the right of the parents to instill discipline to their children is “biblical” and it is “an inherent, natural and God-given right” for the good of the child.
Tangal’s statement was echoed by Raddy Diola of the Dilaab Foundation Inc. He said the proposed legislation will deprive parents of their “parental authority” to discipline their children.
“If we penalize the parents, it will shake the very foundation of the family,” he added.
However, Tessie Fernandez of the Lihok Filipina Foundation pointed out to the council that majority of the pain and fear inflicted on children is the parents’ doing. This is reportedly based on the cases they handled.
Lihok Filipina, a non-government organization, provides legal assistance, temporary shelter, counseling and livelihood assistance to victims of rape, domestic violence and child abuse.
In appearing before the council yesterday, Fernandez favors the passage of Japson’s ordinance.
She said disciplining the children should not be through punishment but for parents to live by example.
“We do not have to be violent to discipline our children,” she said.
Dr. Naomi Poca, a child abuse specialist of the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center also favors the passage of ordinance.
She said corporal punishment results in poor quality parent-child relationship, delinquent, criminal and anti-social behavior, poor mental health, and poor cognitive development among children.
“No study has found that physical punishment will have long-term positive effects but only negative effects,” Poca said.
Under Japson’s ordinance, those who will commit the prohibited acts will be punished by imprisonment of not more than six months or a fine not exceeding P5,000.
Other prohibited acts include beating, kicking, slapping, pinching, pulling the ears or hair, deliberate neglect of child’s physical needs, use of hazardous tasks as punishment, confinement and other threats of physical punishment.
Japson’s ordinance is patterned after Republic Act 7610, or the Special Protection of Children against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act, and House Bill 445, also known as the Positive Discipline Bill.
Japson believes her proposed ordinance will not be redundant, but rather compliments national laws and give it more teeth.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 15, 2012.