By Bernadette D. Nicolas, March 1 2019; Business Mirror

Image Credit to Philippine Daily Inquirer

President Duterte has vetoed a bill that pushes positive and nonviolent methods among children, saying the bill, if enacted, would intrude into the privacy of the family to discipline children.

This is the third time that the President has vetoed a bill in its entirety.

The consolidated version of Senate Bill 1477, and House Bill  8239 seeks to protect children by banning all forms of physical and mental abuse, injury, maltreatment or exploitation traditionally used  by most Filipinos in the context of discipline.

In his veto message, Mr. Duterte said the bill would allow government to extend its reach into the privacy of the family by authorizing measures aimed at suppressing corporal punishment, regardless of how carefully it is practiced.

“I believe as much as Congress does that every children should be protected from humiliating forms of punishment. To the extent that this bill would enable the State to put a stop to such forms of punishment, it is a salutary piece of legislation. However, I am gravely concerned that the bill goes much further than this as it would proscribe all forms of corporal punishment, humiliating or not, including those done within the confines of the family home. I do not share such an overly sweeping condemnation of the practice,” he said.

Moreover, President Duterte also said he firmly believes that responsible parents can and have administered corporal punishment in a “self-restrained manner,” such that children remember it is not as an act of hate or abuse, but a loving act of discipline that desire only to uphold their welfare.

Mr. Duterte also said the cultural trends of other countries are not necessarily healthy to the nation.

To uncritically follow the lead of these countries, especially with regards to the family, would be a great disservice to the succeeding generations, he said.

“I am aware that there is a growing trend, prevalent in Western nations, that sees all forms of corporal punishment as an outdated from of disciplining children,” he said. “I strongly believe that we should resist this trend in favor of a more balanced and nuance approach, one that is both protective of the child, as well as cognizant of the prerogatives of devoted parents who believe in the merits of corporal punishment, rightly administered,” the President said.

Meanwhile, principal author of the bill Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy of Bagong Henerasyon party-list, also chairman of the House Committee on Women and Gender Equality, said that while she was “deeply saddened” by the presidential veto, she will still request for a meeting with the President to convince him to reconsider the measure.

“We were so close. We were in the final lap. Then we had this hurdle the bill was powerless to surmount. The Positive Bill passed overwhelmingly in the House and at the Senate,” Herrera-Dy said in news a statement.

“I have still not lost hope. I will ask for a meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte to learn directly from him why he vetoed the bill. I will try to convince him to reconsider. He can still revoke the veto if he chooses to,” the lawmaker said.