Philippine Law on Anti-Corporal Punishment could be First in Asia
QUEZON CITY – The
Anti-Corporal Punishment Bill recently passed in the House of
Representatives but is still pending at the Senate could be first in
the entire Asia, a visiting UN official said during her dialogue with
children and the child rights advocates in Manila today.
According to Marta
Santos Pais, Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) on
Violence against Children, the proposed legislation could be first in
the entire Asia should the Philippine Congress pass it this year.
During the event, Marta said that she is going to speak about her
visit in the Philippines during the UN meeting on violence against
children in Geneva set March this year.
“I will mention my
visit in Manila and tell them that the Philippines is one of the most
important countries where I had a dialogue with the children
themselves and heard their recommendations on how to eliminate
violence among them,” said Marta.
She added, “I will
also tell them that a law on anti-corporal punishment has been passed
in the House of Representatives but is still pending in the Senate. I
will also tell them that the bill needs to be passed as quickly as
House Bill 4455 titled
“Promoting Positive Discipline of Children and Prohibiting Corporal
Punishment Act” authored by Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy of Bagong
Henerasyon Party List and Rep. Susan Yap of 2nd District of Tarlac was
passed in 2011. The bill seeks to promote positive discipline
techniques in all settings, including the home and institutions.
During the dialogue,
children shared their situation and expressed their hope to be
protected from all forms of abuse. One participant, a street child,
laments the kind of treatment they experience inside temporary
shelters where they are placed after being “rescued.” He said that
they are treated like criminals when they are not; they are restricted
as if they are in jail and are not allowed to play like children do.
To make matters worse, these shelter staff orders older children to
physically punish the younger ones.
He said, “ang trato po
sa amin ay parang ganon na rin sa mga matatandang nagkakasala na
Meanwhile, the Child
Rights Network (CRN), a coalition of non-government and civil society
organizations expressed hope that that the consultation and the
recommendations gathered from various sectors will reach the proper
authorizes through the United Nations.
Ms. Wilma Bañaga,
Child Protection Adviser of Save the Children, CRN member said, “we
hope that these recommendations will not fall on deaf ears and that
our lawmakers and the concerned agencies will seriously consider
enacting laws, strictly implementing existing laws, and establishing
mechanisms to eliminate violence against children.