The House Committee on the Welfare of Children has reported out for floor deliberation a measure promoting positive and non-violent discipline of children at home, in schools, in workplaces, and in all other settings.
Rep. Aurora Cerilles (2nd District, Zamboanga del Sur), chairperson of the House body, said House Bill 4907 would mitigate violence towards Filipino children by securing their well-being and safety.
“In response to the commitment of the Philippines to various international agreements such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child, and Convention on the Rights of the Child, it is imperative to establish a legal framework that shall protect the young generation of Filipinos,” Cerilles said.
House Bill 4907, in substitution of House Bill 155 authored by Rep. Susan Yap (2nd District, Tarlac), aims to promote positive and non-violent methods of disciplining them and assisting parents in the fulfillment of their parental obligations.
“Children, as future productive citizens of the country, need to be cared for in an environment that fosters positive reinforcement of behavior rather than making use of punishment to supposedly facilitate learning,” Yap said.
“The young should be protected from the grave consequences of corporal punishment by prohibiting the infliction of all forms of corporal, humiliating or degrading punishment in all settings, providing legal remedies for victims and measures of intervention for perpetrators of corporal punishment,” Yap added.
The measure prohibits any forms of corporal punishment, humiliating or degrading chastisement to children like kicking, slapping, pulling hair, twisting joints, dragging, forcing a child through the use of power, authority or threats, to perform physically painful or damaging acts, kneeling on stones, salt or pebbles, refusal to provide the child’s physical needs, tying up a child, verbal abuse, swearing or cursing, and making a child look or feel foolish in front of one’s peers or public by shaving hair.
Under the measure, the penalties under existing penal laws shall be imposed in the maximum period, except where a higher penalty is provided for under Act 3815, as amended, otherwise known as the Revised Penal Code, under Republic Act 7610, or under Republic Act 9262, otherwise known as the Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act, or arresto mayor in its maximum period.
If the penalty imposable for the act is only arresto menor or arresto mayor, the prosecutor may refer the accused to the local Social Welfare and Development Office (SWDO) for assessment and intervention such as seminars and counseling on children’s rights, positive and non-violent discipline of children, anger management, and referrals to other rehabilitative services.
The remedies available to the victim under Republic Act Nos. 7610 and 9262 shall be available to the child where applicable.
The measure also requires the respect and the right to privacy of the victim to cases of corporal punishment, in barangay, the police, school, public or private healthcare facility.
Whoever publishes or causes to be published, in any format, any identifying information of a victim or immediate family member of the victim, without consent, shall be penalized with a fine of not more than Two hundred thousand pesos (Php200,000).
The Department of Social Welfare and Development, in consultation with the Commission on Women and Children, Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Health, other relevant government agencies, LLGUs, NGOs, and at least two child focused organizations, shall promulgate the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the proposed Act.
Co-authors of the measure are Reps. Walden Bello (Party List, AKBAYAN), Ibarra M. Gutierrez III (Party List, AKBAYAN), Maria Carmen S. Zamora (1st District, Compostela Valley), Lemuel Lawrence H. Fortun (1st District, Agusan Del Norte), Ruby M. Sahali (Lone District, Tawi-Tawi), Mariano U. Piamonte (Party List, A TEACHER), Cinchona Cruz-Gonzales (Party List, CIBAC), Ronald V. Singson (1st District, Ilocos Sur), Isidro T. Ungab (3rd District, Davao City), Thelma Z. Almario (2nd District, Davao Oriental), Celso L. Lobregat (1st District, Zamboanga City), Leopoldo N. Bataoil (2nd District, Pangasinan), Dakila Carlo E. Cua (Lone District, Quirino), Frederick F. Abueg (2nd District, Palawan), Pedro B. Acharon, Jr. (1st District, South Cotabato), Ansaruddin A.M.A. Adiong (1st District, Lanao Del Sur), Ma. Lourdes Acosta-Alba (1st District, Bukidnon), Jorge T. Almonte (1st District, Misamis Occidental), Rose Mari J. Arenas (3rd District, Pangasinan), Anthony M. Bravo (Party List, -COOP NATCCO), Lino S. Cayetano (2nd District, Taguig City), Neri J. Colmenares (Party List, Bayan Muna), Anthony G. Del Rosario (1st District, Davao del Norte), Evelina G. Escudero (1st District, Sorsogon), Gwendolyn F. Garcia (3rd District, Cebu), Ana Cristina S. Go (2nd District, Isabela), Gerald Anthony V. Gullas, Jr. (1st District, Cebu), Fernando L. Hicap (Party List, ANAKPAWIS), Luzviminda C. Ilagan (Party List, GABRIELA), Eulogio R. Magsaysay (Party List, AVE), Mark Llandro L. Mendoza (4th District, Batangas), Lilia Macrohon-Nuno (2nd District, Zamboanga City), Eric L. Olivares(1st District, Paranaque City), Carlos M. Padilla (Lone District, Nueva Vizcaya), Gavini C. Pancho (2nd District, Bulacan), Leah S. Paquiz (Party List, ANG NARS), Deogracias B. Ramos, Jr. (2nd District, Sorsogon), Roman T. Romulo (Lone District, Pasig City), Estrellita Suansing (1st District, Nueva Ecija), Randolf S. Ting (3rd District, Cagayan), Juliette T. Uy (2nd District, Misamis Oriental), and Victor J.Yu (1st District, Zamboanga Del Sur). PNA