By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
President Duterte has vetoed The Positive and Non-Violent Discipline of Children Act which seeks to protect children from any form of violence at home, school and other institutions.
The consolidated version of Senate Bill No. 1477 and House Bill No. 8239 seeks to protect minors from beating, kicking, slapping, and all forms of physical abuse done by their parents.
On Thursday, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea confirmed that Duterte vetoed the measure. Malacañang is yet to release an official copy of Duterte’s veto message.
According to Medialdea, Duterte wants parents to have the authority over their children, especially when it comes to disciplining them.
“Yung paternal authority sa bata nandoon [sa mga magulang], sila unang magdi-discipline sa mga anak nila. ‘Wag lang yung sobra (Parents should be the first to discipline their kids. As long as their children don’t suffer),” he said.
“Alangan namang ikaw papabayaan mo anak mo iba bubogbog (You won’t allow other people to hurt your kids),” he added.
The Anti-Palo Bill aims to implement a comprehensive program to promote positive and nonviolent discipline instead of physical, humiliating or degrading acts as a form of discipline of children.
Physical, humiliating or degrading acts, according to the bill, are forms of punishment or discipline in which “physical force is used and intended to cause pain or discomfort or any nonphysical act” that causes children to feel belittled, denigrated, threatened, or ridiculed.
Under the measure, non-physical forms of violence such as intimidation, cursing, and ridiculing a child in public are likewise prohibited.
According to former top presidential aide Christopher Go, one of President Duterte’s reasons for vetoing the measure is the President does not want to follow growing trends in Western nations that see all forms of corporal punishment as an outdated form of disciplining children.
He added that Duterte is in favor of a more balanced and nuanced approach, which is both protective of the child but recognizing the right of parents who believe in the merits of corporeal punishment properly administered.
The bill says that violators may be brought to attention of the barangay or the police. The barangay captain is mandated to determine the category in which the committed act falls under, and determine what actions should be taken.
However, House assistant majority leader Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy, who authored the bill, clarified that parents found violating provisions of the bill will not face any jail time.
“Children cannot invoke this law to get back at their parents by sending them to jail. However, if the case is child abuse or sexual abuse, that is a much more serious matter with jail time consequences,” she said.