Fine of P5,000 for hitting a child-A A +A
Thursday, June 28, 2012
CEBU CITY -- Voting 14-2, the Cebu City Council approved the ordinance that bans corporal punishment in the city.
This means that parents, teachers, nannies, housemaids and caregivers, foster parents, relatives and guardians are no longer allowed to punish children in a humiliating or degrading way, whether it’s physical or verbal punishment.
The ordinance, which promotes positive and non-violent discipline of children, was written by Councilors Lea Japson, Alvin Dizon, Margarita Osmeña and John Philip Po II.
Under the ordinance, it is unlawful to beat, kick, hit, and slap a child with or without the use of an instrument like a cane, shoe, broom, stick, whip or belt.
Once the mayor signs the ordinance, any person found to have committed the prohibited acts shall be punished by imprisonment of not more than six months or fined not more than P5,000 or face both penalties, if the court orders it.
The ordinance also prohibits the parents, teachers, nannies, housemaids and caregivers, foster parents, relatives and guardians from pinching, pulling the ears or hair, shaking, cutting and shaving the hair, piercing the skin, lifting, dragging or throwing a child.
It is also unlawful to force a child to kneel on a rough surface such as stones, salt or pebbles. Children should also not be made to squat, stand or sit in a contorted position.
Furthermore, the ordinance prohibits the deliberate neglect of a child’s physical needs, as well as confining the children in a space, tying them, and forcing them to remain in one place for an extended time.
Other prohibited acts include verbal assault, threats or intimidation, verbal abuse, scolding, yelling, swearing, ridiculing or degrading a child and making a child look or feel foolish in front of his or her peers or the public.
During the council’s regular session on Wednesday, Councilor Jose Daluz III moved to have the ordinance amended, to exclude the parents from its coverage.
While he is in favor of the ordinance banning corporal punishment, Daluz opposed the inclusion of the parents, saying the measure restrains parents from disciplining their children.
Councilor Ronald Cuenco agreed with Daluz. He added that parents should not be punished or imprisoned; rather, they should be made to undergo a parenting seminar, among others.
But Japson insisted that parents should be included in the coverage of the ordinance, saying that 75 percent of corporal punishment is committed by parents.
Besides, she added, parents will not be immediately imprisoned once they violate the ordinance, since they will be accorded due process.
As stated in Section 6 of the ordinance, the Barangay Council for the Protection of Children will refer the case to the City’s Department of Social Welfare Services (DSWS) for assessment and intervention.
If the parents will be found guilty of committing corporal punishment, the DSWS will be the one to file a case against them.
Daluz argued that there are reasonable corporal punishments that are not criminal in nature.
To settle the issue, Councilor Augustus Pe Jr. moved to divide the house to determine whether or not the measure should be amended.
Only Daluz and Cuenco voted in favor of the amendment, while the rest voted to keep the original draft.
Only 14 councilors were present on Wednesday as Councilors Margarita Osmeña, Edgardo Labella, Eduardo Rama Jr. and Alvin Arcilla were absent.
The measure, though, still has to be submitted to Mayor Michael Rama for his approval.
If the mayor approves it, the measure will take effect 15 days following its posting in two public places and publication in a newspaper of general circulation. (Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 28, 2012.