MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has vetoed a bill banning parents from resorting to corporal punishment to discipline their children.
On Saturday (February 23), Duterte vetoed Senate Bill No. 1477 / House Bill No. 4239 entitled "An Act Promoting Positive and Non-Violent Discipline by 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, such as beating and beating, and non-physical forms of violence, such as cursing and embarrassing a minor in public.
In his veto message released Thursday (Feb. 28), Duterte said that while agreeing with Congress that every child should be protected from humiliating forms of punishment, he does not share such an excessive condemnation of practice.
"I believe as much as Congress that all children should be protected from humiliating forms of punishment. It's a salutary piece of legislation, "Duterte said.
"However, I am seriously concerned that the bill goes far beyond that, as it would outlaw all forms of corporal punishment, humiliating or not, including those made within the confines of the family home. I do not share such an excessive condemnation of practice, "he added.
Duterte believes that responsible parents can and have applied corporal punishment in a self-contained way, so that children do not remember it as "an act of hatred or abuse, but a loving act of discipline that only wants to maintain their well-being" .
The President also said that "such a commitment to corporal punishment has resulted in beneficial results for society, with countless children having been raised to become law-abiding citizens with a healthy respect for the structures of authority in the community at large."
"Regrettably, this bill places this responsible disciplining of children in the same category as humiliating and degrading forms of punishment, and condemns them all in a single blow," he added.
Duterte believes the bill would allow the government to transgress the limits of state intervention and the sanctity of Filipino families.
"Not making distinctions, the bill would allow the government to extend its reach to family privacy by authorizing measures to suppress corporal punishment, regardless of how carefully it is practiced. In doing so, the bill violates the appropriate limits of state intervention in family life, whose sanctity and autonomy are recognized by the Constitution, "he said.
The chief executive also said he is aware of a growing trend, particularly in Western nations, which sees all forms of corporal punishment "as an outdated discipline of children."
Countries that have banned corporal punishment of children include Austria, Denmark, Greenland, Germany, Ireland, Norway, Poland and Sweden. Other Western nations have implemented laws that still give parents the right to use physical force, but must be reasonable under the circumstances.
However, Duterte firmly believes that the Philippines should resist this and prefer a measure that protects the child and recognizes the prerogatives of parents who believe in the merits of corporal punishment.
"I firmly believe that we must resist this tendency in favor of a more balanced approach and nuances, which is both protective of the child as well as aware of the prerogatives of devoted parents who believe in the merits of properly administered corporal punishment, Duterte said .
He also finds that "cultural trends in other countries are not necessarily healthy for our own nation," and that in many cases "these trends are of doubtful benefit even to the very countries that have originated and popularized them."
"To continue without criticizing the leadership of these countries, especially in matters as significant as that of the family, would be a great disservice to the next generations," he added. – Robie de Guzman (with details of Rosalie Coz)