Posted on November 9th, 2008
A group called Save the Children Sweden in the Philippines is proposing measures to explicitly prohibit corporal punishment, promote the use of non-violent forms of disciplining children, and outline the role of different government agencies towards this end.
According to Minerva Cabiles, program coordinator for Save the Children Sweden in the Philippines in a recent interview on â€œMornings@ANCâ€ spanking children might cause harm than good. Her group is advocating a teaching-oriented method that involves explanation and negotiations with children instead of corporal punishment such as spanking, yelling and cursing.
To start with, she points out that the words discipline and punishment are two entirely different things. Disciplining should not be enforced only in negative situations, but rather has to be a process of relating and communicating to children through teaching and guiding. Corporal punishment, so prevalent in the Philippines, accounts for 85 percent of children being punished at home with 65 percent involving spanking. Beyond the physical pain that the children suffer from is the emotional pain that damages the relationships, instills fear and hatred and the idea that violence is acceptable. In extreme cases, severe corporal punishments can cause serious injury, or worse, lead to a childâ€™s death.
Cabiles further cite studies that found out that corporal punishment humiliate and degrade children instead of teaching them discipline. Such practice is so deeply ingrained in the Filipino culture and to eradicate it, her groupâ€™s effort involves raising awareness about the ill effects of corporal punishment and promoting non-violent ways of disciplining. Moreover, she points out that the childrenâ€™s right to protection against abuse, exploitation and other forms of violence is guaranteed under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which the Philippines is a signatory.
The group is thus seeking to replace another bill filed in Congress due to the latter being punitive in nature as it seeks to punish errant parents. This defeats entirely the objective of helping and teaching parents in terms of guiding their children, which the group is advocating.