Filipino Parents Spanking a Child Will Soon Go to Jail
The Anti-Corporal Punishment Act of 2009 (House Bill 6699) was filed this July by its author, Representative Nikki Prietto-Teodoro of the 1st district of Tarlac, with already 56 co-authors in the House, has gone through its second reading and is expected to be approved this year.
This bill will prohibit Filipino parents from using physical force to reprimand their children, including (wow!) harsh verbal assaults and (degradingly) humuliating their child for bad behavior. Child Rights Ambassador of Plan International Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski expressed support for a law that will protect children. Reacting to a comment that corporal punishment is sometimes brought about by poverty, Jaworski said, “No amount of poverty is a justification for corporal punishment.”
Corporal punishment has been the norm of many parents in the Philippines since time-a-memorial. Spanking and famously hitting children with slippers (“tsinelas”) are common sights in Filipino households, a way to correct unwanted bad behavior of the child.
Article 45 of the Child and Youth Welfare Code allows corporal punishments as long as these are “just and reasonable” and “moderate in degree.” However, those are vague words. Current laws only defend the child from severe harm.
The bill seeks to define corporal punishment as the use of physical force, forcing a child to undergo physical, painful or damaging acts, neglecting a child’s basic needs (such as starvation), use of external substance harmful to the child, forcing a child to undergo hazardous tasks, confinement (in unsafe places), and verbal assaults, threats or intimidation. This bill also covers the similar illegal acts conducted in schools, institutions, youth detention centers, and offices.