On Saturday (February 23), Duterte vetoed the Senate bill No. 1477/House Bill No. 8239 titled, “An Act Promoting Positive and Non-violent Discipline, Protecting Children from Physical, Humiliating or degrading Acts as a form of Punishment.”The bill sought to prohibit parents from inflicting all forms of humiliating punishment like beating and slapping, and non-physical forms of violence such as cursing and embarrassing a minor in public.Duterte said that while he agrees with Congress that every child should be protected from humiliating forms of punishment, he does not share such an overly sweeping condemnation of the practice.
“I believe as much as Congress does that every child should be protected from humiliating forms of punishment. It is a salutary piece of legislation,” Duterte said.“However, I am gravely concerned that the bill goes much further than this as it would proscribe all forms of corporal punishment, humiliating or not, including those done within the confines of the family home. I do not share such an overly sweeping condemnation of the practice,” he added.
Duterte believes that responsible parents can and have administered corporal punishment in a self-restrained manner, such that the children can remember it not as “an act of hate or abuse, but a loving act of discipline that desires only to uphold their welfare.”“Regrettably, this bill places such responsible disciplining of children in the same category as humiliating and degrading forms of punishment, and condemns them all in one broad stroke,” he added.
Duterte believes that the bill would allow the government to transgress the boundaries of State intervention and the sanctity of Filipino families.The Chief Executive also said that he is aware of a growing trend, particularly in Western nations, that sees all forms of corporal punishment “as an outdated from of disciplining children.”Among the countries that have prohibited corporal punishment of children are Austria, Denmark, Greenland, Germany, Ireland, Norway, Poland and Sweden. Other western nations have implemented laws still giving parents the right to use physical force but must be reasonable under the circumstances.
However, Duterte strongly believes that the Philippines should resist this and instead favor a measure that will both protect the child and recognize the prerogatives of the parents who believe in the merits of corporal punishment. Duterte also thinks that “the cultural trends of other countries are not necessarily healthy for our own nation,” and that in many instances, “such trends are of doubtful benefit even for the very countries which originated and popularized them.”