The House of Representatives on Tuesday has unanimously approved on third and final reading a bill promoting positive and non-violent forms of discipline among children.
House Bill 4907, also called the Positive Discipline Act, seeks to protect the children against corporal punishment and to secure an environment that fosters positive reinforcement of children’s behavior to facilitate learning and growth.
Akbayan Rep. Barry Gutierrez, who co-authored the bill, lauded the passage of the proposed legislation saying this will help secure the safety and well-being of children in their homes, schools and communities.
“Effective and positive discipline establishes the foundation for children to learn self-discipline, protects them from dangers of harsh or violent discipline and help instill in them the value of self-control and responsibility,” Gutierrez said.
“We strongly discourage parents and guardians to discipline with sticks, which, in the long run, may prove counterproductive, for both parents and children,” he added.
The measure prohibits all forms of corporal punishment, humiliating or degrading chastisement to children like kicking, slapping, pulling hair and dragging. It also forbids the use of threats to force children to perform physically painful or damaging acts such as kneeling on stones, refusal to provide the child’s physical needs and 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 are also outlawed.
The penalties under existing penal laws shall be imposed in the maximum period or arresto mayor in its maximum period, except where a higher penalty is provided for under Act 3815, or the Revised Penal Code (RPC), as amended, or under Republic Act 9262, otherwise known as the Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act.
Prosecutors are also advised to refer the accused to the local Social Welfare and Development Office (SWDO) for assessment and interventions if the penalty imposed for the act is only arresto menor or arresto mayor. Suspected transgressors will then undergo seminars and counseling on children’s rights, positive and non-violent discipline of children, anger management, and referrals to other rehabilitative services.
“Through this bill, we hope to instill a nurturing environment where young Filipinos will grow, explore and develop into productive citizens and future leaders,” Gutierrez concluded.###