Bill seeks ban on spanking, other physical discipline of children

By on March 12, 2017


“It is imperative to underscore that the protection of children against acts that harm their physical and psychological integrity is a treaty commitment of the Philippines,” De Lima said. (Photo: peter/ Flickr)
“It is imperative to underscore that the protection of children against acts that harm their physical and psychological integrity is a treaty commitment of the Philippines,” De Lima said. (Photo: peter/ Flickr)

MANILA–A measure was filed in the Senate seeking to ban spanking, shaking, paddling and other physical discipline to punish children.

Detained Sen. Leila de Lima filed Senate Bill (SB) No. 1348 or the “Anti-Corporal Punishment Act of 2017 which aims to shield Filipino children from corporal punishment and all other forms of humiliating and degrading treatment.

These prohibited acts include hitting through smacking, slapping, spanking with the hand or with an implement such as but not limited to whip, stick, cane, broom, belt, shoe, wooden spoon and other similar instruments.

Also included in these prohibited acts are pulling hair, shaking, twisting joints, cutting or piercing skin, dragging or thrown a child or any form of punishment in which physical force is used or intended to cause some degree of pain or discomfort.

De Lima, former Justice Secretary, said that this measure will apply to all settings namely at home, in schools, alternative childcare, places of work and places of detention.

“It is imperative to underscore that the protection of children against acts that harm their physical and psychological integrity is a treaty commitment of the Philippines,” De Lima said.

She noted that the Philippines has yet to pass a law banning corporal punishment despite being a signatory to the UN Convention of the Right of the Child which seeks to protect children against degrading treatment or punishment.

“In the Philippines, there is no specific law that prohibits the use of corporal punishment or physical violence against children,” De Lima said noting that its passage will also be a historic first in Southeast Asia.

She stressed the use of physical punishment has long been debunked because it was found to be adverse to child’s development.

“Physical punishment makes kids more aggressive; Physical punishment encourages kids to continue the cycle of abuse; and spanking actually alters kids’ brains,” she added.

She, meanwhile, urged the government to grab the opportune time to pass the law against corporal punishment noting that other countries have taken more positive steps toward child-discipline.

The neophyte senator said that because the Philippines is due to submit its combined fifth and sixth periodic human rights reports this year, it is the most opportune time to enact a law to proscribe corporal punishment.

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a unique process which involves a periodic review of the human rights records of all 193 UN Member States. The UPR is a significant innovation of the Human Rights Council which is based on equal treatment for all countries.

De Lima is currently detained in the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center for drug trafficking charges. However, she is allowed to continue to file bills in the Senate.