PROMOTION OF POSITIVE DISCIPLINE
NARDA T. AGUILAR
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.
The author is Teacher III at Sampaga Elementary School