PHILIPPINES: Child rights group calls for anti-corporal punishment bill

[MANILA] - A child rights advocacy group is pushing for the swift passage of a bill banning corporal punishment.

The Child Rights Network (CRN), whose members include NGOs and international institutions, lamented there is no law prohibiting corporal punishment.

"Parents, teachers and every person exercising parental authority must exercise positive discipline to children in guiding their behaviour while respecting their rights to healthy development and protection from violence," CRN co-convener Hope Tura said in an article on the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines website.

She said the bill, once passed into law, will address the limitations of current laws in dealing with the issue of corporal punishment, especially in the home.

Tura cited a study conducted by Save the Children-Philippines, indicating 85 per cent of Filipino children surveyed in 2005 reported being punished in their homes.

Of those surveyed, 82 per cent said they were hit in different parts of the body.

For her part, Save the Children country director Rowena Cordero said studies around the world have shown that corporal punishment does more harm than good.

"It hurts children physically and emotionally, destroys their self-confidence, damages their relationship with their parents or guardians, and instills fear, mistrust and hatred. Corporal punishment also teaches children that it is acceptable to use violence to resolve conflicts and control others. More importantly, corporal punishment violates the rights of children. Like adults, children have equal rights to physical integrity and human dignity," Cordero said.

She cited reports released by the World Health Organization (WHO) that corporal punishment kills thousands of young children each year.

It also injures more and contributes to developing violent behaviour among children.

The Anti-Corporal Punishment Bill aims to institutionalise the promotion of positive discipline practices and non-violent child rearing.

CRN members include the Child Protection Unit Network, Christian Children's Fund, Council on the Welfare of Children, Lunduyan Foundation, Parenting Foundation Inc., CRIBS Foundation, Education Network, Parenting Foundation, Plan Philippines, Philippine Legislators' Committee on Population and Development Foundation, Philippine Pediatric Society, Save the Children, United Nations Children's Fund and World Vision.

Further information

pdf: GMA news


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