by Ador Vincent Mayol and Edison delos Angeles
CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama voiced reservations about a proposed city ordinance banning corporal punishment on children.
The mayor said he will review the final draft of the ordinance passed by the Cebu City Council last June 27.
Rama said he doesn’t see anything wrong with disciplining children by spanking or other similar physical punishment.
Meanwhile, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma declined to comment on the ordinance, but said parents should help children “grow in grace” by imposing discipline.
The City Council said the ordinance promotes positive discipline for children by prohibiting excessive punishment or using methods that harm or humiliate a child.
Mayor Rama said he too had his own share of spanking when he was a young boy“but look at me, I grew up to be a good man.”
The ordinance was authored by Councilors Leah Japson, Margot Osmeña, Alvin Dizon and John Philip Po II.
“All of us got spanked but we grew up to be good people,” said Mayor Rama in Cebuano.
Rama said his son Mikel credited him for being strict in raising him and his sister Michelin since it made them successful.
In an interview after the ordination of four deacons at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral last Friday, Palma said it’s a privilege for parents to help their children “grow in grace”.
Palma advised parents to think about the good of their children by disciplining them.
He said there are many ways to manifest love and imposing discipline is one of them.
“Methods of discipline should be for the good of children; what can help children grow and become good citizens of the country,” said Palma, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).
Palma recounted experiences of disciplining children. He said children were punished by being told to kneel down, and were spanked.
“(But) we never became bitter. We know that was done so we will become better. Each of us have been punished but if it is done as an expression of love, we will not mind,” he said.
Under the ordinance, parents are prohibited from punishing a child by punching a child’s ear, spanking, pulling hair, using isolation, verbal humiliation and neglecting their needs.
A P5,000 fine or imprisonment of not more than six months may be imposed on the violator.
Japson said the ordinance doesn’t stop parents from imposing discipline on their children.
She said what’s prohibited is inflicting pain and physical and emotional harm on the child.
Japson said a parent who truly loves his or her child doesn’t inflict harm.