CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama said his mind is set on vetoing the anti-spanking ordinance, but agreed to meet with its advocates on Monday.
“I do not mind having an audience with NGOs. I will give them the opportunity to dialogue with me, but I have already made up my mind on the ordinance,” he said.
His office officially received on Wednesday a copy of the ordinance approved last June 27 by the City Council.
He has 10 days to act on it or the ordinance automatically lapses into law.
Alejandro Alonso, regional director of the Commission on Human Rights, said the ordinance does not violate human rights and should be implemented.
He said several groups strongly support the ordinance, which prohibits corporal punishment and penalizes parents, teachers, relatives, nannies or other individuals who resort to acts such as spanking, pinching, yelling at or humiliating a child.
Among the groups that support the measure are the Children’s Legal Bureau and Lihok Filipina.
Mayor Rama said in his State of the City Address (SOCA) last Monday that he is inclined to veto the measure because the P5,000 fine for offenders makes it “anti-poor”.
The fine and prison term of six months is the penalty for repeat offenders. First-time violators would undergo counseling by social workers.
Despite the CHR endorsement of the measure, the mayor said he would not change his position.
“It does not matter what the CHR says because I will exercise my decision as a mayor not as a human rights chairman,” he said.
Rama challenged the City Council to override his veto if it insists on passing the ordinance. To override the veto, the city council would need a vote of 2/3 or 13 votes of the 19-member council. /Edison A. delos Angeles, Correspondent