by Flora Mae T. Tatoy & Fort O. Nicolas
Children in the Philippines, and anywhere in the world, for that matter, do not deserve to be punished physically by their parents or any person, albeit for the purpose of disciplining them.
This is the position of the Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation Inc. (KKFI) as it joined other non-government organizations (NGOs) in lobbying for the passage of the House Bill 4907 or the Anti-Corporal Punishment and Positive Discipline in the Senate last November 23.
With KKFI were the Save the Children in the Philippines, Plan International and Philippine Children Ministry Network (PCMN).
“At 8 o’clock in the morning, we went to the Senate with two of our young stakeholders, Sarah Cleto and Melanie Balateco, to join the lobby day of the House Bill 4907 or the Anti-Corporal Punishment and Positive Discipline Bill to ask the senators to support the proposed legislation,” said Flora Mae Tatoy, an education officer of KKFI.
Surveys showed that Filipino parents often use physical punishment as a means to discipline their children. Hence, it is common for Filipino children to be hurt, humiliated, shouted at in front of people, labelled and denigrated.
According to the Save the Children, 85 percent of Filipino children are punished at home, while 82 percent admitted to being hit in different parts of their bodies.
The same study confirmed that corporal punishment has potential short- and long-term damages to children and, in the process, to the society.
Cleto said joining the lobby allowed her to understand more deeply the benefits children and minors like her will enjoy once the House Bill 4907 is passed into law.
“Ang bill na ito ay napakahalaga sa aming mga bata at kabataan dahil isinusulong din nito ang aming mga karapatan (This bill is very important to children and youth because it also promotes our rights),” she pointed out.
She said she intends to help disseminate the knowledge and information her learned from her Senate experience to children, youth, parents and teachers in order to fight the danger of corporal punishment.
Tatoy, meanwhile, said joining the lobby helped her gain more knowledge on children’s rights. She said she plans to design activities and incorporate these to KKFI’s Family Development Session (FDS) projects.
“It’s not our purpose to threaten the family but to give them an idea on how to discipline their child from a Christian perspective and to promote Parents-Child Relationship,” she concluded.