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Corporal punishment

Manila, Philippines – Sen. Pia Cayetano said the measure seeking to eradicate all forms of corporal punishment against children requires more legislative and `cultural’ study.

Cayetano, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Women, Youth, and Family Relations, clarified she is not against passage of an anti-corporal punishment bill but said there is a need to fine-tune components of the measure.

This is because most Filipino families still traditionally accept physical forms of disciplining children which at times were viewed as domestic violence.

“We’re not belittling this, because like the proposed Reproductive Health bill, a law is important so that you also institutionalize these “good practices“ of positive discipline,“ Cayetano said.

“I am supporting it but I just want to fine-tune it carefully because we need to differentiate when one parent pathologically physically abuses a child,“ she said.

Cayetano said one cannot argue with the fact that studies show violence is not an effective and not an accepted form of punishment.

“But how do you now change society to accept this. That is the challenge,“ she said.

Cayetano said there are already existing laws that cover acts of violence, repetitive, severe, or “unusual“ forms of punishment even without the passage of the anti-corporal punishment bill.

“But what we’re trying to address now is possibly the cultural, possibly habitual, bad habits that need to be brought to the forefront so that this would stop. In fact, the Department of Education (DepEd) has said it is slowly being integrated already in the (education) programs,“ she said. (Hannah L. Torregoza)