The House of Representatives is poised to pass on third and final reading a bill banning spanking and other physical forms of punishment on children when it resumes session next month.
House Bill 8239, or the proposed “Positive and Non-Violent Discipline of Children Act,” authored by Party-list Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy of Bagong Henerasyon, protects children from physical, humiliating or degrading acts as a form of punishment.
The bill was passed on second reading last week.
Prior to its approval on second reading, the bill was sponsored and defended on the floor by the chairman of the House welfare of children committee, Rep. Divina Grace Yu of Zamboanga del Sur.
Herrera-Dy, vice chairperson of the House committee on welfare of children, expressed belief the House leadership would support her bill which prohibits all forms of humiliating or degrading punishment on children.
Under the bill, parents have been prohibited from using corporal punishment in disciplining their children.
The bill tasks parents to fulfill their parental obligations “through positive and non-violent methods of disciplining their children.”
Herrera-Dy, in the bill’s explanatory note, said, “children shall be shielded from the grave consequences of corporal punishment by prohibiting the infliction of all forms of humiliating or degrading punishment on them in all settings.”
In addition, the measure establishes a legal framework to the country’s commitment 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.
HB 8239 defines physical, humiliating, or degrading acts of punishment as any form of punishment or discipline in which physical force is used and intended to cause pain or discomfort or any non-physical act that causes a child to feel belittled, denigrated, threatened, or ridiculed.
The bill protects children from these kinds of punishment in homes, schools, institutions, alternative care systems, the juvenile welfare system, places of religious worship, and in all other setting where there is direct contact between adults and children.
The bill also requires any person having personal knowledge of such act or acts to file a report with the barangay or the police.
If the matter is reported to the police, they are mandated by the measure to then bring the report to the attention of the barangay or a healthcare provider in the area where the act was committed.
In addition, the bill provides that any person who, acting in good faith, responds or intervenes without using violence or restraint greater than necessary to ensure the safety of the victim shall not be criminally, civilly, or administratively liable.