5 Nov 2010

Child rights advocates in Philippines call on parents, guardians, and other authorities to end corporal punishment

Philippine Daily Inquirer - August 27, 2009

Stop punishing our children, say advocates

MANILA, Philippines—Amid reports that a large proportion of children around the world experience physical and humiliating or degrading punishment, child rights advocates on Thursday called on parents, guardians, and other authorities to end corporal punishment.

At the media briefing on the Advocacy and Campaign for the Promotion of Positive Discipline and Prohibition of Corporal Punishment, Child Rights Network (CRN) highlighted the need for a law that will ban the corporal punishment of children in the homes, schools, and other settings.

According to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, corporal punishment are cases where physical force is used and intended to cause some degree of pain or discomfort, however light. It also includes other non-physical forms of punishment that are cruel and degrading.

The World Studies of Abuse in the Family Environment conducted by the World Health Organization, presented by CRN co-convenor Hope Tura, showed that severe physical punishment is commonly used as means of discipline in the Philippines.

The study said that “21 percent of children are hit with an object in other parts of their body, 6 percent are kicked, 3 percent are beaten, while 1 percent are threatened with a knife or a gun, and another 1 percent are choked.”

“Unfortunately, here in the Philippines, we learn to tolerate a not so child-friendly society,” lamented Ramon San Pascual, executive director of the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development Foundation Inc. (PLCPD).

“As a legislative advocacy institution, we put this challenge in legislation,” he added.

“That is why we are pushing for the passage of a law that will institutionalize mechanisms to educate the general public on effective nonviolent forms of discipline and change the norms about the acceptability and use of corporal punishment,” he said.

Among them is House Bill 6699 or the “Anti-Corporal Punishment Act of 2009” now pending for plenary deliberation at the House of Representatives; it is authored by Representative Nikki Prieto-Teodoro of the 1st District of Tarlac.

Meanwhile, Child Rights Ambassador of Plan International Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski expressed support for a law that will protect children. Reacting to a comment that corporal punishment is sometimes brought about by poverty, Jaworski said, “No amount of poverty is a justification for corporal punishment.”

Child Rights Network (CRN) is a network of organizations advocating for the passage of national laws that will protect and fulfill the rights of Filipino children.

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