President Duterte vetoes bill banning corporal punishment of children

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corporal punishment

President Duterte has vetoed a bill banning corporal punishment for children, saying he does not share “overly sweeping condemnation” of the practice.

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It was announced today (Thursday, February 28) that the president has quashed consolidated bills Senate Bill 1477 and House Bill 8238.

The bills prohibit subjecting children to any form of punishment or discipline. It is entitled: “An Act Promoting Positive and Nonviolent Discipline, Protecting Children from Physical, Humiliating or Degrading Acts as a Form of Punishment”.

This covers the infliction of all forms of “humiliating or degrading” punishment, including non-physical forms of punishment including intimidation, cursing and “ridiculing a child in public”.

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In his veto message today, the president said that although he believed children should be protected from humiliating forms of punishment, he believed that disciplining children could be done responsibly.

“I am gravely concerned that the bill goes much further than this as it would proscribe all forms of corporal punishment, humiliating or not, including those done within the confines of the family home. I do not share such an overly sweeping condemnation of the practice,” he said.

He also pointed out that the legislation seemed to have condemned all forms of disciplining children. “Regrettably, this bill places such responsible disciplining of children in the same category as humiliating and degrading forms of punishment, and condemns them all in one broad stroke,” he said.

He also said that the measure violates the Constitution because it intervenes in the life of the family.

“Making no distinctions, the bill would allow government to extend its reach into the privacy of the family, authorising measures aimed at suppressing corporal punishment regardless of how carefully it is practiced.

“In so doing, the bill transgresses the proper boundaries of State intervention in the life of the family, the sanctity and autonomy of which is recognised by the Constitution,” he explained.

The president emphasised that corporal punishment can sometimes be done as “a loving act of discipline that desires only to uphold their welfare” and even raise children to become law-abiding citizens.

“I am of the firm conviction that responsible parents can and have administered corporal punishment in a self-restrained manner, such that the children remember it not as an act of hate or abuse, but a loving act of discipline that desires only to uphold their welfare,” he said.

“Such manner of undertaking corporal punishment has given rise to beneficial results for society with countless children having been raised up to become law-abiding citizens with a healthy respect for authority structures in the wider community.”

Meanwhile, he also also stressed that despite the view of Western nations that all forms of corporal punishment were “outdated”, these do not necessarily apply in the Philippines.

“The cultural trends of other countries are not necessarily healthy for our own nation. Indeed, in many instances such trends are of doubtful benefit even for the very countries which originated and popularised them,” he said.

“To uncritically follow the lead of these countries, especially in matters as significant as the family, would be a great disservice to the succeeding generations.”

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