We are disappointed to announce that the expected achievement of prohibition of all corporal punishment of children in the Philippines has hit a major obstacle.
In December 2018 the Positive Discipline Bill finally passed third reading in both houses and was expected to be signed into law by the President early this year. However, on February 23rd the President issued a veto message saying that he refused to sign the bill because, among other objections, he does not agree with the ‘sweeping condemnation’ of corporal punishment.
The Positive Discipline Bill has been introduced and debated in Congress every year since 2012 (it was first introduced in 2008); however local organisations started their campaigning back in 2003, over the years building a strong base of support for positive discipline, child participation and children’s rights among NGOs and community organisations, and eventually among politicians as well. Although they have not succeeded in changing the law – yet – they have changed behaviour and attitudes in many ways, and remain resolute in their commitment to raising awareness of positive discipline, implementing effective child protection procedures, and working towards prohibition of corporal punishment.
Local campaigners are now considering their next steps. The Philippines has a commitment and an obligation to prohibit corporal punishment, both as a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and as a Pathfinding country for the Global Partnership to End Violence against Children.