By Ben Rosario
Authors lamented yesterday the presidential veto of the positive discipline bill that took nearly a decade for Congress to pass.
Akbayan Parytlist Rep. Tom Villarin said President Rodrigo Duterte showed he has no “compassion” towards children.
On the other hand, Bagong Henerasyon Partylist Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy said she remains optimistic that Duterte will heed her appeal to reconsider the veto.
While the measure won overwhelming support in both houses of Congress, the bill is not expected to win the required 2/3 votes to override the rejection.
Both Villarin and Herrera-Dy said the bill should still be filed in the next Congress.
“The veto of the positive discipline bill by President Duterte shows his lack of care and compassion towards children. It is unfortunate and at the same time disturbing that Malacanang does not appreciate the values of positive discipline and reinforcement among children,” said Villarin.
He added: “It is unfortunate because children nowadays are subjected to all forms of physical and mental violence”
The opposition lawmaker noted that the Duterte administration has also been pushing for the passage of the measure that would lower the age of criminal responsibility from the present 15.
“It is disturbing because Malacanang instead wants to promote measures that put children at risk like the lowering the minimum age of criminal responsibility,” said Villarin.
“It also puts the future of our country at risk,” he stressed.
The proposed measure “is a compassionate measure” that proposes to penalize parents who subject their children to corporal punishment as a form of disciplining them.
Under the bill, kicking, slapping and other physical forms of punishment against children are prohibited.
The law also seeks to prohibit verbal abuse or assaults, including threats, intimidation, swearing or cursing, ridiculing a child or making him look foolish in front of other children or the public.
In vetoing the measure, Duterte defended corporal punishment as a way of making children behave and remember committing mistakes.
He said corporal punishment can be administered in a manner that will instill in the children’s mind that the punishment is not “an act of hate or abuse, but a loving act of discipline that desires only to uphold their welfare.”
“Regrettably, this 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,” Duterte noted.