Was Duterte wrong to veto the Positive Discipline Bill?

Was Duterte wrong to veto the Positive Discipline Bill?

- in Family, Opinion, Philippines
Photo from Phil Star

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte recently vetoed the Positive Discipline Bill which supposedly would have protected kids younger than 18 from physical punishment and verbal abuse from their parents or guardians.

While some detractors felt it necessary, the many deemed the bill redundant as there are other laws that protects children’s rights like the “Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act;”, “Child and Youth Welfare Code;” and “The Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act”.

The President said that the bill would “allow government to extend its reach into the privacy of the family, authorizing measures aimed at suppressing corporal punishment regardless of how carefully it is practiced.”

The President also made a good point stating that the bill “places such responsible disciplining of children in the same category as humiliating and degrading forms of punishment, and condemns them all in one broad stroke.”

A common argument that the anti-spanking side likes to lean on is that children are different and respond to various styles of discipline.  The point that these same people miss is that parents need tools to govern their children, and if a parent finds it appropriate to use corporal punishment to teach right from wrong, it is not the government’s place to say no.

The key is that the spanking must be administered in a calm and loving environment. The focus is on helping a child to learn appropriate behavior, as opposed to simply satisfying a parent’s frustration in the heat of the moment. In fact, studies suggest spanking administered by “loving, well-intentioned parents” in a “non-abusive, disciplinary” environment can be an effective form of punishment.

Ultimately, the way in which someone disciplines his or her child is a parental decision, and it is to be made on an individual basis. Taking this right out of the hands of individuals is a step in a direction many prefer not to take.

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