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Plan International, European Union, and LGUs to sign MOU to promote Positive Child Discipline in Eastern Samar

By HAZEL BITAÑA
November 3, 2014

BORONGAN CITY, Eastern Samar – This Thursday, Nov. 6, the local governments of Maydolong and Llorente will sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Plan International and European Union to promote positive and non-violent discipline of children.

The MOU strengthens the commitment of the local government units (LGUs) to work with the global child rights organization, Plan International, in implementing the “Collective Action to Promote Non-Violent and Protective Society for Children,” a project funded by the European Union and implemented in partnership with the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population Development Foundation (PLCPD) and Lihok Pilipina Foundation.

The project, dubbed as the “Positive Discipline Project,” is a three-year initiative that aims to help families, teachers, barangay officials, and other members of the community to stop abusive child disciplining practices such as spanking, pinching, and humiliation. Instead, adults are encouraged to practice non-violent means of guiding children’s behavior such as reprimanding the children privately and explaining the difference between right and wrong.

“In the Philippines, corporal punishment is a prevalent practice in disciplining children, but it is a form of physical and psychological violence. Positive discipline is a parenting approach that guides the children while respecting their rights,” says Jayson Lozano, Project Manager of Plan International.

In a study commissioned by Plan International and European Union in 2011, 75% of the parents said that they use corporal punishment to discipline their children. However, corporal punishment lowers the children’s self-esteem, promotes violence, and weakens the bond between parents and children.

Corporal Punishment in Eastern Samar

Based on the baseline research of the project, almost 40% of the surveyed parents in Eastern Samar use physical means of disciplining their children. These include spanking the children’s bottom, hand, arms, or legs; hitting the children’s bottom with an object; and pinching.

At the moment, there is no officially reported case of corporal punishment in the area. Yet, there are reports of physical abuse, violence, or injury that may be cases of corporal punishment, especially if the motive was to discipline the child. This lack of data maybe attributed to the aggregation of corporal punishment cases to the child abuse reports. It may also be because the issue is viewed as a private matter.

The Positive Discipline Project in Eastern Samar

The project implementation began in Eastern Samar in September 2013. To date, the project accomplished the formation of the coalition of civil society organizations (CSOs) that promote positive discipline, the reconvening of kids that belong to the Community-Based Monitoring and Advocacy Group, the formation of Parent-Support Groups, and the creation of Youth Peer Support group in schools and communities. Also, the project helped in strengthening the capacities of CSOs and kids by conducting trainings on positive discipline and child protection, as well as trainings on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the rights and responsibilities of the child.