Cebu officials disagree on “anti-palo” bill
CEBU, Philippines — Cebu Vice Governor Agnes Magpale, who chairs the Provincial Council for the Welfare of Children, was saddened that the president vetoed the bill that would prohibit parents from spanking or imposing corporal punishment on their children.
“Sad to say, gi-veto but kami nga advocates to the protection of children, I will not also condemn the president if aduna siyay mga studies (supporting his decision),” Magpale said.
“If the thinking of the president is that it (positive discipline) did not work, maybe we give it a chance. Mao na mausab ang among stand tungod kay mosunod raman mi sa balaud kami nga ania sa gobyerno,” she added.
Magpale initially refused to comment on the issue because she is against any form of corporal punishment, thus she is more inclined for the passage of the bill.
She is also for the promotion of imposing positive discipline among households, which is why the commission has been conducting lectures to parents on how they can raise their children better.
“Nagkaanam og kawala ang attention and care among the parents (to their children). Mao na nga sa among advocacies, we always tell them taga-i og time inyong mga anak, talk to them,” she said.
Meanwhile, Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III has a different stand on the issue.
In a separate interview, he said there is already an existing national law that helps prevent violence against children but he continues to oppose any act of corporal punishment.
“Children have protection rights [and] there’s already a law on penalizing violence against women and children,” said Davide.
He cited Republic Act 9262 or the Anti-Violence against Women and their Children Act of 2004 which seeks to protect women and children from “violence and threats to their personal safety and security.”
This includes physical and psychological violence.
If found guilty, the offender will be obliged to pay up to P300,000 in damages and is required to undergo psychological counseling or psychiatric treatment.
“We recognize the rights of parents to discipline their children but we can do away with bodily punishment,” Davide said.
The vetoed bill, entitled “an Act Promoting Positive and Non-Violent Discipline, Protecting Children from Physical, Humiliating or Degrading Acts as a Form of Punishment” is a consolidated version of Senate Bill No. 1477 and House Bill 8239.
The proposal, dubbed as the ‘Anti-Palo’ bill, came from the separate proposals of Senators Risa Hontiveros, Grace Poe, and Nancy Binay.
Meanwhile, a Cebu City police official said parental guidance is the key in the effective child care and discipline.
Police Captain Arieza Otida, spokesperson of Cebu City Police Office, shared the sentiment of Duterte, saying discipline stems from parental love.
“Especially sa pagbutang sa discipline kay ang tinguha dili man dautan ang pagdisiplina man sa atong mga bata,” Otida said.
A mother of five, Otida said that children’s attitude changes overtime and that restrained acts of discipline will also ingrain things that are not allowed.
“Mismo kita, mahadlok ta bunalan sa una, but atong mga anak run kita pa hadlukon. So, siguro we should check with the provisions, especially sa discipline,” she said. — Mae Clydyl L. Avila, Christele Isabela B. Basco, USC Intern GAN (FREEMAN)