Sun.Star Pampanga - - PERSPECTIVE! -


The Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion (DepEd), to­gether with the Depart­ment of So­cial Wel­fare and Devel­op­ment (DSWD) and other con­cerned agen­cies, are man­dated to for­mu­late and im­ple­ment a com­pre­hen­sive pro­gram to pro­mote pos­i­tive and non-vi­o­lent dis­ci­pline of chil­dren.

This was af­ter the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives re­cently ap­proved on fi­nal read­ing House Bill 8239, which seeks to pro­tect chil­dren from phys­i­cal, hu­mil­i­at­ing, or de­grad­ing acts as a form of pun­ish­ment.

The agen­cies shall also be man­dated to con­duct a con­tin­u­ing in­for­ma­tion dis­sem­i­na­tion cam­paign na­tion­wide on how to prac­tice pos­i­tive dis­ci­pline.

The pro­posed law would pro­vide a le­gal frame­work for the coun­try’s com­mit­ment to var­i­ous in­ter­na­tional agree­ments such as the Uni­ver­sal Dec­la­ra­tion of Hu­man Rights, Geneva Dec­la­ra­tion of the Rights of the Child, and Con­ven­tion on the Rights of the Child on pro­tect­ing the young gen­er­a­tion of Filipinos.

Un­der the bill, chil­dren shall not be sub­jected to any form of phys­i­cal, hu­mil­i­at­ing, or de­grad­ing acts of pun­ish­ment in schools, homes, in­sti­tu­tions, al­ter­na­tive care sys­tems, the ju­ve­nile wel­fare sys­tem, places of re­li­gious wor­ship, and in all other set­tings where there is di­rect con­tact with chil­dren.

The bill also states that any per­son hav­ing per­sonal knowl­edge of such act or acts may file a re­port, which shall be brought to the at­ten­tion of the barangay and/ or the po­lice. The po­lice shall bring the re­port to the at­ten­tion of the barangay or a health­care provider.

Upon re­ceipt of a re­port, the Punong Barangay shall de­ter­mine if the com­mit­ted acts fall un­der the def­i­ni­tion of phys­i­cal, hu­mil­i­at­ing, or de­grad­ing acts as a form of pun­ish­ment.

The Punong Barangay, if there is such de­ter­mi­na­tion, may re­fer both the of­fender and the of­fended party to me­di­a­tion and con­cil­i­a­tion. How­ever, in ex­treme cases where the safety of the chil­dren is at stake, the Punong Barangay – tak­ing into con­sid­er­a­tion the best in­ter­est of the chil­dren – may rec­om­mend tem­po­rary pro­tec­tion or­ders.

Re­peat of­fend­ers will be re­quired to un­der­take sem­i­nars on pos­i­tive dis­ci­pline, anger man­age­ment, and chil­dren’s rights. They shall un­dergo coun­sel­ing or ther­apy; and/ or avail of other re­ha­bil­i­ta­tive ser­vices as may be ap­pli­cabl e.

The chil­dren, mean­time, shall be pro­vided coun­sel­ing and be ac­corded other proper in­ter­ven­tions if nec­es­sary.

The bill states that any per­son re­sponds or in­ter­venes with­out us­ing vi­o­lence or re­straint greater than nec­es­sary to en­sure the safety of the vic­tim shall not be criminally, civilly, or ad­min­is­tra­tively li­able.

The right to pri­vacy of the vic­tim shall be rep­re­sented, so all records per­tain­ing to cases of pun­ish­ment pro­hib­ited by HB 8239 shall be kept con­fi­den­tial. The vic­tim or an im­me­di­ate mem­ber of their fam­ily, mean­while, may file an ac­tion for dam­ages against who­ever pub­lishes, with­out prior con­sent, any iden­ti­fy­ing in­for­ma­tion of a vic­tim or their im­me­di­ate fam­ily.

— oOo—

The au­thor is Teacher III at Sam­paga El­e­men­tary School

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