Zamboanga del Sur 2nd district Rep. Aurora Cerilles is advocating against physical abuse as a means of disciplining children through House Bill (HB) No. 4907 or the “Positive Discipline Act”.
“Our culture has become synonymous with physical violence as a form of disciplining a child. This is not how we should raise our youth. (Naging synonymous na sa ating kultura na ang pagdidisiplina sa bata ay pananakit. Hindi po dapat ganun ang pagpapalaki sa ating kabataan),” said Yap in a radio DZMM interview.
The bill seeks to ban several forms of punishment which include corporal punishments such as kicking, hitting, slapping, pulling of hair as well as forcing the child to kneel on salt or monggo beans.
Refusal to provide for the child’s needs like food, tying up the child, verbal abuse like swearing and threatening the child and public shaming like shaving the child’s hair are also included in the list.
While laws are already in place against child abuse in a school setting, HB No. 4907 is for physical abuse in the family setting, Yap added.
Further, Yap explained that the bill is not seeking to ban spanking completely, only excessive forms of it. “This isn’t for when you spank your child once or twice. This is for when there are already complaints of excessive punishment. (Ito naman ho hindi yung napalo mo minsan. Ito yung kapag may nagreklamo naman talagang excessive na yung parusa).”
The Zamboanga representative encourages parents and guardians to use positive reinforcement and discipline to rear children.
She also seeks to put a stop to the cycle where physical abuse as a form of discipline is passed on through generations.
The bill was approved for plenary debates in the House of Representatives in September last year. A counterpart bill has already been filed in the Senate.