The Provincial Board passed on first reading last Monday a proposed ordinance prohibiting any form of corporal punishment on children.
PB Member Arleigh Sitoy sponsored the proposed measure after the Cebu City Council on June 27 passed its anti-spanking ordinance, which the mayor vetoed.
Sitoy’s proposal, however excludes parents, who are permitted to discipline their children to a certain extent.
This makes it different from the Cebu City ordinance which prohibits all persons from using physical force or humiliation to punish children.
The Capitol’s version defines corporal punishment as any punishment in which physical force is employed and meant to cause pain, regardless of the degree or however light, or any act which embarrasses, denigrates, threatens, scares or ridicules a child performed by an adult or by another child influenced or coaxed by an adult to perform such act.
It specified that no relative, legal guardian or representative, yaya or house helper, carer, school teacher, personnel and officials of private and public educational institutions, religious person or any person in charge of custody, care, attention, education or instruction and treatment shall inflict corporal punishment upon a child for the purpose of discipline, exercising control or punishment.
Parents, however, are allowed to impose parental disciplinary punishment on their children but only to a certain extent.
Sitoy’s proposal banks on the limitation where parents will be guided by the principle of minimum necessary use of force at the shortest necessary period of time.
The provincial offices in charge of health and social welfare will be tasked to promote “positive parenting” and non-punitive discipline on children. Violators face a P5,000 fine or one year in jail.
The PB referred the proposed ordinance to the committee on women and children headed by Cebu Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale.
Cebu City Councilor Leah Japson said the introduction of similar ordinances in Talisay City and Cebu Province would show that Cebuanos favor positive discipline for children.
Japson, a BO-PK ally, said during last Wednesday’s session that the council had the numbers to override the mayor’s veto but decided to refer the veto message to the committee on laws and the committee on women and children.
“We wanted to wait for their opinions. We cannot also implement the ordinance unless we can override the veto,” said Japson.
The council could have easily overridden the mayor’s veto but chose to have it undergo further study.
Votes of only 2/3 of the council are needed to override or a veto or 15 of the 18 councilors. /Correspondent Carmel Loise Matus with a report from Chief of Reporters Doris C. Bongcac